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RIPOLI AND 



BY 
ARLES LAPWDRTH 



Sifton, Praed & Co., Ltd., 

Mapsollera, 
fi,T,°°''r"°"' """^ Stationers. 

<)7 bt. James's Street, S. W. 



TRIPOLI AND YOUNG ITALY 




'^ WtK^ 




VICTOR EMANUEL 

KING OF ITALY 



TRIPOLI AND 
YOUNG ITALY 

BY CHARLES LAPWORTH 
IN COLLABORATION WITH 
MISS HELEN ZIMMERN 




MCMXII 

STEPHEN SWIFT AND CO. LIMITED 

1 6 KING STREET, CO VENT GARDEN 

LONDON, W.C. 




(Translation Rights Reserved) 



^-3 



PREFACE 

IN offering this little contribution to the con- 
troversy about Italy I want to say that it 
is not written for the gentlemen in haute politique, 
who generally have their own pet theories ; it is 
written for just the ordinary, common folk who 
are supposed to make up that intangible but 
forceful element known as public opinion. Most 
people, if they are candid, will confess that they 
have only the vaguest ideas about Italy and her 
problems ; and I have sought, as far as I have 
been able in the short time at my disposal, to 
give as comprehensively as possible the case 
for Italy in regard to her Tripoli campaign, 
together with some impression of what I may 
call the urge of the new spirit which has been 
awakened, and is universally apparent in Italy 
of to-day. I have also tried to show something 
of what Tripoli means to Italy, not only as a 
colony, but as an indication of her determination 

% 



6 Tripoli and Young Italy 

to count for something in international affairs, 
and to prevent herself from being hemmed in and 
stifled by other contending Powers. 

I wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance 
I have received from Miss Helen Zimmern, 
whose intimate knowledge of Italy and things 
Italian, accumulated during twenty-five years' 
residence here, has been wholly at my service. 
Her affection for her adopted country is bound- 
less, and is widely appreciated throughout in- 
tellectual circles in Italy. She is especially 
responsible for the chapter on art and literature. 

To General Caneva, the Governor of Libya, 
I wish to express my thanks for giving me all 
the privileges of an accredited war-correspondent, 
and I acknowledge the kindness of Major Ropolo 
and Captain Caragiola of the General Staff"; of 
Major Carlo Zunini and the Infantry and 
Artillery officers who made me their guest one 
memorable night in the advanced trenches ; and 
generally of the many officers and men who ren- 
dered me services, and with the utmost goodwill 
but sincere anxiety pursued me with inquiries 
about the apparently hostile attitude of some of 



Preface 7 

the British people. I was particularly impressed 
by the unbounded enthusiasm and undoubted 
efficiency of the Italian soldiers. A remarkable 
feature was the genuine camaraderie existing 
between officers and men, which, however, did 
not impair discipline when there was work to 
be done. The average officer appears to know 
all about the family affairs, the mothers, the 
wives, and the bambini of his men ; and it is no 
empty boast that the Italian Army is one of the 
most democratic in the world. 

To his Excellency the Prime Minister ; to the 
Marquis di San Giuliano, Foreign Minister ; to 
the Hon. Francesco Nitti. Minister of Agri- 
culture and Commerce ; to Commendatore Luigi 
Mercatelli, I express my thanks for information 
obtained from their various departments ; and I 
must acknowledge services kindly rendered among 
others by Signer A. Albertini, editor Corriere 
della Sera ; Dr. O. Malagodi, editor La Tribuna ; 
Signor Michele Saman, of the Italian Adminis- 
tration in Tripoli ; Signor Luigi Barzini, Signor 
Guelfo Civinini, Signor Marco Tavelli, and other 
Italian war-correspondents in Tripoli; Mr. Wood. 



8 Tripoli and Young Italy 

American Consul-General at Tripoli ; the Hon. 
Salvatore Barzilai, President of the Associazione 
della Stampa ; Dr. O. Pedrazzi, Signer Ferdin- 
ando Paolieri, Signor Eugenio Coselschi, Professor 
Scipio Sighele, Comm. Guido Biagi, Professor 
Bonaventura, Dr. Roberto Assagioli, Signor 
Riccardo NobiH, Signor Carlo Vieusseux, Mr. 
Clarence Bateman, Professor Carlo Paladini, 
Signora Teresina Campani, Signorina Teresa 
Ubertis, Signora Sibilla Aleramo, Signora Ida 
Pazzini, Cav. Nunes Weiss, AVv. B. Rognetta, 
Signor Azzo Ronchey, Mrs. Rossetti Agresti, 
Signor Antonio Agresti, Mr. Richard Temple, 
Miss Howe, Miss Nella Luzzi, and my wife. 
I am indebted to Signor Danesi, of Rome, for 
the permission to use his portrait of the King, 
and to Cav. Luca Comerio for the permission 
to use some of his Tripoli photographs with 
which to supplement my own. 

C. L. 

Florence, 
February 3, 191 2. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

DISCOVERY OF ITALY 

Foreign ignorance of the real Italy — Italy makes no apology for 
her " outburst " — The " Friends of Italy " — British Press opinions 
— German annoyance — The " atrocities " in Tripoli — The Arab 
treachery — Desperate remedies — The rules of war — Disgruntled 
correspondents — Italian self-depreciation — Her surprising financial 
recovery— Enthusiasm for the Tripoli Expedition — Socialist opinion 
— The Italian case in brief pp. 13-41 

CHAPTER H 

THE CASE AGAINST TURKEY 

Turkey stole Tripoli — Turkish misrule — Slave trade — Sponge- 
diving conditions — Arabs do not love the Turks — Extortionate 
taxation — Denudation of the oases — Population driven out — Arab 
appeal to Italians — Turkish persecution of Italians — The official 
case against Turkey — Rape and murder of Italians — Obstruction of 
legitimate trading — Opposition to exploration — Turkish piracy in 
the Red Sea — Banco di Roma in Tripoli — Young Turks worse than 
old Turks — Turkish contempt for Italian representations 

pp. 42-75 

CHAPTER HI 

THE POLITICAL NECESSITY 

Peace Society protests — "Historical fatality" — Giolitti's state- 
ment — Tripoli an old problem — Mazzini and North Africa — Bismarck 
and the Mediterranean — The Crispi letters — Lord Salisbury and 
Tripoli — Crispi's efforts toward occupying Tripoli — British sympathy 
— Weakness of Italian foreign policy — The Abyssinian disaster — 
Financial recovery — The Panther incident — Fear of losing Tripoli — 
Germany's desires — French friendship — Treaty of Paris — Criticism 
of Italy — Bankruptcy of the Hague Tribunal — Italy's very existence 
as a nation threatened — "Iron ring" closing round her — Italian 
prestige higher pp. 76-1 10 

9 



10 Tripoli and Young Italy 

CHAPITER IV 

THE NEW COLONY 

Ignorance about Tripoli — Its history — Turkish dominion — City of 
Tripoli — Dirt and disease — Splendid work of Italian army medical 
corps — Trades — Schools — Municipal administration — Influence of 
the Consulates — Neglect of the port — Ghadames — Ghat — Murzuk — 
Gharian — Bengasi — Derna — Tobruk .... pp. 111-138 

CHAPTER V 

ITS COMMERCIAL VALUE 

Lack of knowledge of the Hinterland — Climate and topography — 
Palm-trees and dates — Tobacco and cotton — Fertility of soil — Lack 
of water — Turkish opinion of resources — Jewish exploration of 
Cyrenaica — Primitive agricultural methods of Arabs and Bedouins 
— Esparto — Sponge-fishing — Ostrich feathers — Imports and exports 
— Trade with the Hinterland — French activities— Minerals — Sulphur 
and phosphates pp. 139-164 

CHAPTER VI 

FUTURE OF LIBYA 

Will the Italians " make good " ? — Plenty of capital and pioneers 
— Government precautions against land speculation— Thorough 
study of colony organised — Pushing on work of development — New 
port — Water supply — Fighting the sand — Italian agriculturists — 
Native labour— Precedence of agriculture — Other industrial possi- 
bilities — Caravan routes — Railways — The Senussi — " Holy War" — 
Italian treatment of Arabs — A dream of future Libya . pp. 165-192 

CHAPTER VII 

POLITICAL ITALY 

Democratic Italy — Absence of class distinctions — King and 
Queen — King's politics — Heterogeneous Parliament — Irresponsible 
groups — Socialist influence — Giolitti as a leader — San Giuliano 
and other prominent Ministers — Monopoly of life insurance — 
Manhood suffrage — Giolitti's determination — " Corruption " — 
Educational growth — Stirring up local government — Illiteracy — 
Agricultural education — Malaria and pellagra — Public health and 
population ......... pp. 193-22^ 



Contents n 



CHAPTER VIII 

ECONOMIC ITALY 

Italy's wealth and financial prestige — Her great task in i860 — 
Surprising industrial grou-th — Exports and imports — Progress com- 
pared with other countries — Conversion of National Debt — Sa\-ings 
Banks — Co-operative movement — " White coal " — Rise in standard 
of living — Credit unaffected by war — Revival in agriculture — Imports 
of machinery — Afforestation — Wine, olives, rice, silk — Agricultural 
banks — Collective farms — " The Green International "—Work of the 
International Institute of Agriculture .... pp. 225-253 

CHAPTER IX 

INTELLECTUAL ITALY 

New spirit in art and hterature — Philosophical advance by 
younger men — Practical expression in social work — Modernism — 
Poetry — Dialect literature, and poetry — Pictorial art — The provincial 
schools — Marked improvement of sculpture — Zanelli — The National 
Monument— The theatre — Music .... pp. 254-284 

CHAPTER X 

NATIONALIST ITALY 

Nationalism a driving force — Foreign Ministers and the principle 
of nationality — Italian unity not complete — Irredentists — Patriotic 
societies — Trouble with Austria — Pan-Germanism — Rise of 
Nationalist Association — Its leaders — Criticism of Italian foreign 
policy — War declared necessary — Anti-Turkish sentiment — 
Nationalist influence on Tripoli question — Revival of self-respect — 
Acceptance of principles of nationalism — Foreign Office and Greater 
Italy pp. 285-314 

CHAPTER XI 

ITALY AND EUROPE 

Italy and the Balance of Power — To take a bigger share in inter- 
national affairs— Paradox of Triple Alliance — Anti-Italian attitude 
of Austria — Attacks on Count Aehrenthal — Italian precautions on 
Austrian frontier — German fear for fate of Triple Alliance — Drang 
nach Osten pohcy — Italian interests in Balkans — Albania bone of 
contention — Balkan status quo threatened — Pan-Germanism — 
" Trouble in the Balkans " — Italy and the Triple Entente— Italy as 
a world leader pp. 315-344 

SHORT BIBUOGRAPHY PP. 345-347 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



VICTOR EMANUEL, KING OF ITALV 



GENERAL CANEVA 

GENERAL CANEVA AND HIS STAFF AT THE CASTLE 
TRIPOLI — THE NEWER PART OF THE TOWN, LOOKING 

FROM THE CASTLE .... 

THE PRINCIPAL STREET IN TRIPOLI 
MARKET SCENE AT TRIPOLI .... 
THE CASTLE AT BENGASI .... 

ITALIAN ARTILLERY 

MAKING A NEW ROAD 

CAMELS TRANSPORTING TIMBER AT TRIPOLI . 

THREE PARTICULAR YOUNG FRIENDS OF THE AUTHOR 

ARAB TYPES 

BEDOUIN DOMICILE 

ITALIAN TRENCH AT AIN-ZARA 

GIOVANNI GIOLITTI 

VICE-ADMIRAL PASQUALE LEONARDI-CATTOLICA 

PAOLO SPINGARDI 

SIDNEY SONNINO 

PROFESSOR FRANCESCO NITTI 

LEONIDA BISSOLATI 

ANGELO ZANELLI 

THE NATIONAL MONUMENT TO VICTOR EMMANUEL I. 

FRANCESCO TEDESCO 

PROFESSOR SCIPIO SIGHELE .... 

LUIGI FACTA 

THE MARQUIS OF SAN GIULIANO . 

MAP OF TRIPOLI 

I? 



Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 
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120 
128 
134 
134 
162 
162 
179 
179 
179 
190 
198 
211 
211 
222 
226 
226 
279 
282 
289 
289 
304 
304 
348 



TRIPOLI AND 
YOUNG ITALY 

CHAPTER I 

DISCOVERY OF ITALY 

THE world appears to have just discovered 
Italy. Or rather, judging from the tone 
of the foreign Press, the discovery of Tripoli and 
Italy have synchronised. The ignorance which 
has recently been uncovered concerning this 
'•geographical expression" is truly colossal. With 
one or two creditable exceptions, the well-meaning 
but oft ill-informed purveyors of " intelligence" to 
the foreign newspapers have done very little to 
make known this new nation, its aspirations, 
and its troubles. For years they have gone 
along in the rut of routine, seemingly so soaked 
in old masters and archaelogy as to be impervious 
to impressions of the living Italy, palpitating and 
urgent around them. They have done little to 
acquaint their peoples with the fact that Italy 
is no longer merely a museum of past glories, 

>3 



14 Tripoli and Young Italy 

but a factor of great potentiality in continental 
development — a Power indeed to be reckoned 
with. Editors of foreign newspapers have pos- 
sibly more exciting material for their columns, 
and look upon things Italian as small fry indeed 
for the rapacious appetite of their reading public 
when there is a plethora of more highly seasoned 
fare. But, be that as it may, it is simply owing 
to its own ignorance that the world has been so 
rudely surprised by what it terms Italy's out- 
burst. Possibly it is only because the nerves of 
the older Powers are getting very jumpy that 
they have turned " nasty " over the shock they 
received ; but most disagreeable indeed have they 
been about it. 

Italy makes no apology, however. And she 
has made it abundantly clear that she stands 
in no need of apologists. At one bound she 
has jumped into the midst of the European 
Bargain Sale, and, without so much as a 
'• Scusi ! " has snatched out of the hands of the 
elderly ladies struggling there a remnant of con- 
siderable value. Naturally, these outraged old 
ladies have turned upon her and called her " an 
impertinent young minx," have declared they 
"never did," and demand to know where she 
has learned her bad manners. But Italy stands 



Discovery of Italy 15 

perfectly unabashed — a little flushed, perhaps, at 
her own temerity, but really amazed at the storm 
of international ethics she has evoked. She 
does not exactly put out her tongue, but as to 
the question where she learned her manners she 
coolly recalls to her elders the Punch story of 
the Puritan father, who, wishing to reprove his 
daughter for having been to the theatre, greets 
her freezingly with " Good morning, daughter 
of Satan ! " "Good morning, father ! " was the 
maiden's sweet reply ! 

Most Pecksniffian has been the attitude of the 
" Friends of Italy." Because, forsooth, fifty years 
ago, a few Britishers befriended and banqueted 
the Italian exiles, they have ever since been 
constantly reminding Italy of all she owes them. 
And with a meekness even beyond Tom Pinch 
she has submitted in silence to all the homilies 
addressed to her on the virtues of gratefulness. 
She has smiled a little wearily at these benevolent 
bores, and has accepted their gratuitous patron- 
age with a shrug of her young shoulders. But 
now that some of the " Friends of Italy " have 
presumed to lecture her as if she were a naughty 
child, and had not been growing up all these years, 
she has become irritated and resentful, and de- 
clares that she will go in leading-strings no longer 



1 6 Tripoli and Young Italy 

This undertaking then is no apology for Italy. 
It is an attempt to present as comprehensively as 
possible the case for Italy. That there is need 
for such a presentment will be conceded by all 
fair-minded people who have hesitated to express 
an opinion based only on the information and mis- 
information in the public prints. For the sake 
of their own reputation for fair-play English- 
speaking people should insist upon an under- 
standing of both sides of the question. It may 
be that the Italians are as ignorant of things 
British and American as these peoples are of 
things Italian ; yet this is scarcely conceivable. 
There would be some excuse for the Italians, for 
up to now they have made no claim to be world- 
leaders ; yet while it is a melancholy fact that 
deliberate misrepresentation is playing the biggest 
part in the present European unrest, this out- 
break of hysteria and hypocrisy concerning Italy 
is surely unique in its exhibition of crass ignor- 
ance. 

It is safe to say that until a few weeks ago very 
few of the people who are shouting the loudest 
knew where Tripoli was, and what it signified 
to Italy ; but nevertheless they proceeded with a 
sublime cocksureness to give Italy the benefit 
of their opinions. The following is a sample of 



Discovery of Italy 17 



the ignorance of even so-called educated people 
concerning Italy ; a young man showed us a 
cablegram from his father recalling him home 
because he did not wish him to be in a country 
where war was going on ! And among even 
the travelling public, who none the less see very 
little but the insides of cosmopolitan hotels, and 
disdain to learn enough Italian even to say 
"Thank you!" there still prevails the insulting 
superstition that the Italians as a race are lazy, 
dirty, and dishonest. To such people it is no 
doubt awfully tiresome to have modern Italians 
about the place when they are desirous of 
ruminating among the Roman ruins or of clattering 
through cathedrals and cloisters. To them it is 
an outrage that these "common Italians" should 
claim to have any connection with the divine 
Dante, Michael Angelo, and Leonardo. Is it 
to be wondered at, then, that by her present 
display of vitality and efficiency Italy has 
rudely upset the complacency of a good many 
smug folk ? 

Besides, nowadays, when a country wants a 
colony, it is not good form to go straight for 
the goal. It is considered etiquette first to put 
up some plea of a fervent desire to carry civili- 
sation to the people of the benighted land it 



i8 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
desires to colonise. There was no humbugging 
pretence of this kind about Italy's action, however. 
Her natives were being persecuted, imprisoned, 
and murdered in Tripoli, and her business men 
were being deliberately and scandalously hindered 
in their legitimate enterprises. When she had de- 
manded redress, the Turks had practically laughed 
in her face, and they had taken every opportunity 
of exhibiting their contempt for her. The cup was 
running over. And still Italy, with a monumen- 
tal patience, took no steps, beyond polite appeals 
to Turkish honour, to deal with a situation which 
cried aloud for drastic measures. She was 
confident in her rights in Tripoli. Had not 
France and England and other countries over and 
over again acknowledged her rights in Tripoli ? 
But when she observed the rapidly growing 
influence of Germany at the Porte, when German 
interests were being encouraged in Cyrenaica, 
when a German line of steamers was making a 
bold bid for a monopoly of the carrying trade 
of that coast, and when German Panthers were 
on the prowl in the Mediterranean for ports and 
coaling-stations, Italy decided that not only could 
she tolerate no longer the persecution of her 
subjects and the studied boycott of her business 
interests, but that if the cheque she had upon 



Discovery of Italy 19 

Tripoli was not to be rendered valueless in her 
hand she must cash it at once. Hence her ulti- 
matum. 

Naturally, this young upstart could not be for- 
given for having shamelessly discarded the old 
rules of the game, and for not having first entered 
upon the prescribed polite "conversations." Some 
of that first feeling of irritation has passed away, 
and there are people of all countries ready to admit 
that Italy did wisely to strike first and " converse " 
afterwards. It was due in great part to the 
nerves of the Old World being in an attenuated 
condition that Italy's dramatic entrance on the 
international stage came as such a rude shock. 
But the bad temper displayed was because 
Tripoli was something more than a surprise : it 
was a revelation. So long had the " leading 
ladies " occupied the stage, that the world had 
forgotten there were other players who were not 
to be kept out of the piece. And when the new- 
comer revealed herself as a player of no mean 
parts, it was only natural that professional jealousy 
should be aroused. 

The attitude of the German Press was perfectly 
understandable. Following upon her diplomatic 
humiliation by France and England, and the 
order to quit Agadir, Italy had, by making good 



20 Tripoli and Young Italy 

her claim on Tripoli, rendered it impossible for 
the poor Panther to find refuge in any other port 
on the North African littoral, and had closed, 
possibly for ever, the door of North Africa to 
Germany. But how could the tirade of slander and 
abuse which appeared in a section of the British 
Press be explained ? Even making allowance 
for the machinations of the financiers who were 
interested in Turkish Bonds, and the inspired 
despatches full of calumnies against the Italian 
Army coming from this source, the Italians were 
utterly at a loss to understand how the British 
people could be induced to believe these libels. 
They had heard something of the vagaries of a 
certain busybody who, ridden by his favourite 
fury " Julia," dashes wildly about the Continent 
pestering crowned heads with peace propositions, 
and they were undisturbed when this person 
melodramatically demanded sackcloth and ashes 
because nobody would take the Hague Tribunal 
seriously ; but they were genuinely distressed by 
much of what appeared in leading newspapers 
which seemed to put Italy's action in a very bad 
light. Only those who were in Italy at the time 
can know how deeply she was hurt, and how 
really supersensitive to the good opinion of 
Britain the Italian people are. 



Discovery of Italy 21 

To those who have not forgotten recent history, 
there never was a more colossal exhibition of cant. 
There was the ridiculous spectacle of pacifists, 
who for years have advocated the abolition of 
the British fleet, now demanding that that fleet 
should be sent out to deter Italy. The people 
who but a few years before were clamouring for 
the British Army to go and crush the " bloody 
Turk " for the atrocities he had committed on 
Christians, now discovered suddenly an over- 
weening affection for the Turk, and lauded him 
to the sky for his virtues. Positively nauseating 
was the worked-up indignation of the " Friends 
of Italy," who, notwithstanding their professions 
of love for Italy, showed themselves the readiest 
to believe the libels on her fair name. Some of 
their protestations cut Italy to the heart, for how 
was she to appreciate at their true value the 
peculiar workings of the Nonconformist Con- 
science, or to know that the papers and the 
politics in Britain are now being run by the Chad- 
bands and the Stigginses, who are liable to be 
thrown into hysterics and to suspend the Con- 
stitution over so innocuous an incident as a boxing 
match ? However, the Latin sense of humour 
came a little to their rescue when they discovered 
that even the demure old Thunderer had allowed 



22 Tripoli and Young Italy 

itself to publish a letter from an Italian lady 
of noble rank who dated her calumnies from a 
sanatorium ! And when the Italian journalists 
had traced to its source the stream of lies coming 
from Tripoli, Italy recovered somewhat from her 
perturbation. 

While in Tripoli, the writer made diligent 
inquiries as to the truth or otherwise of the 
statements alleging Italian " atrocities," of which 
a reputable Press agency had been the channel 
of dissemination. He met personally the 
resident of Tripoli, who acted as Reuter's 
correspondent, and whose despatches bore princi- 
pally the libels complained of. About him he 
learned that prior to the war he had gone about 
wearing a badge signifying that he was a mem- 
ber of the Committee of Union and Progress, 
and had addressed street-corner meetings, urging 
the adoption by the Arabs of the compulsory 
military service ordered by the Turks. He had 
even been admitted into the synagogues to preach 
his gospel of conscription to the Israelites. The 
man speaks a little English, but is utterly unable 
to write the language, and the Italians think it 
is not much to the credit of the British Consulate 
that the despatches detailing the " atrocities " 
were made up there. The writer had the story 



^iw y. ' y,«iwtjity i H | 




GENERAL CANEVA, 
Commander of the Italian Forces at Libya. 



[as 



Discovery of Italy 23 

of the whole sordid business from the lips of 
Signor Luigi Barzini, the famous correspondent 
of the Corriere delta Sera, who, with three other 
correspondents of high standing and repute, issued 
a statement to the Press, in which was set out 
the result of an interview with Senor Alvarez, 
the British Consul at Tripoli, whom they charged 
with complicity in supplying false news to Reuter's 
Agency respecting the conduct of the Italian 
troops. Faced by these indignant and insistent 
correspondents, the Consul could not deny that he 
had assisted Reuter's correspondent to compile 
his telegrams because he was ignorant of the 
English language, and admitted that the notori- 
ous affidavit of the three other correspondents, 
making accusations against the Italian soldiery, 
had also passed through the Consulate. Com- 
menting upon this, the Giornale (T Italia thinks it 
necessary to point out that the British Consul at 
Tripoli is not an Englishman. 

Certainly what followed the Arab treachery 
was an unpleasant piece of work, but, far from 
the Italian soldiery being the inhuman brutes 
pictured by certain disgruntled correspondents, the 
root of the mischief was in the very humaneness 
and kindliness of the Italians. Had the invaders 
known and profited by the experience of British 



24 Tripoli and Young Italy 

soldiers in dealing with the Arabs, they would 
never have allowed themselves to get into a 
position where they might be stabbed in the 
back ; they would have acted on the knowledge 
that an Arab engaged in what he has been 
deceived into considering a holy war cannot 
possibly understand anything of honour, and that 
to him all means are fair whereby he may kill a 
Christian and thus ensure for himself a happy 
hereafter. Italian trustfulness caused the trouble. 
When the troops were being transported to Tri- 
poli they were lectured by their officers, who 
instilled into their minds a fraternal sentiment 
towards the Arabs, who, as they had ground for 
believing, would prefer Italian to Turkish rule. 
They read and explained to their men the con- 
tents of the pamphlet for the use of the officers in 
Tripoli, written by the Italian Staff They called 
special attention to section 17, which speaks of the 
way to deal with the natives. It runs thus : 
'• The natives are like children . . . they are to be 
treated with kindness, but corrected with firm- 
ness. It is advisable to be always calm with 
them. It is necessary to take into account their 
religion, and not to oppose their modes of wor- 
ship. It is absolutely necessary to respect their 
women." 



Discovery of Italy 25 



The Italian soldiery kept this in mind and 
tried hard at once to fraternise with the Arabs, 
to whom they behaved, as Mr. Richard Bagot 
remarks, " with almost unexampled generosity, 
kindness, and chivalry." The Arab response was 
treachery of the basest character. On asserting 
their friendliness the Arabs were allowed to 
continue in their houses and at work in their 
gardens. But when the Bersaglieri were hotly 
engaged with the Turks in front, and were secure, 
as they thought, in their trenches, these Arabs 
assailed them from behind and literally massacred 
them with weapons they had had buried in their 
gardens. Six hundred killed was the price the 
Italians paid that day for their misplaced trust 
in the Arabs. And the wounded were mutilated 
and prisoners were tortured in the most fiendish 
manner. Some Italian soldiers were crucified, 
others were disembowelled, others while alive had 
their eyelids sewn together, yet others were buried 
alive with their heads above ground to die a most 
agonising death. The mutilations of the dead 
bodies are indescribable. The writer saw photo- 
graphs and took some himself which it is im- 
possible to publish, but which tell a sickening 
tale of unspeakable outrage. Dum-dum bullets, 
flat-nosed and "criss-crossed," were and are 



26 Tripoli and Young Italy 

being used, and when it is realised that while 
the ordinary average of war is one killed to 
five wounded, the Italian losses averaged three 
killed to two wounded, one begins to understand 
upon what side the "atrocities" were. And 
the most horrible things are not attributed to the 
Arabs, but to the Turks, those half-savage Asiatic 
Turks whose handiwork in torture betrays an 
incriminating similarity to atrocities committed 
on Christians elsewhere. The Italians declare 
that the Arabs, fanatical as they are, are incap- 
able of the finesse of torture and mutilation that 
was carried out upon the prisoners and wounded 
falling into the hands of the enemy. ^ But while 
a certain class of Austrian, German, American, 

• The Times correspondent wrote : " I saw in an Arab house, 
which had been used by the Red Cross as a field hospital, five 
mutilated Bersaglieri. One of them had been crucified, with the 
eyeballs threaded with coarse palm fibre through the temples and 
nose. The eyelids had been stitched crosswise to keep them open. 
In a sunken garden I counted eleven corpses piled up, horribly 
mutilated and dismembered. One of them still had the Red Cross 
badge on his arm. In the corner of the garden there were nine 
nude mutilated bodies. One had been impaled, another had been 
crucified with the crosspiece thrust through the muscles of the back, 
the neck, and the left hand. The right hand had been cut off, and 
the abdomen had been slashed open. In the Arab cemetery four 
soldiers had been buried up to the chest, and the hands had been 
cut off. Their agonised expressions justify the presumption that 
they had been buried alive. Many others had been similarly treated, 
all of whom had been missing since October 23," 



Discovery of Italy 27 

and English papers accused the Italian soldiers 

of indiscriminate massacre of women and children, 

not a word was said about the other side of the 

picture. It is to the everlasting credit of the 

Times correspondent that, in the face of the 

maudlin meetings of protest in London, he wrote 

that " there can hardly be one reasonable man 

anywhere, certainly no reasonable soldier, who 

will not acquit the Italian army of the charge of 

inhumanity." Least of all could Britain, with 

her own record of the Indian Mutiny and of 

the Soudan, set up as a Puritanical critic. 

In India the British had short shrift for the 

rebels, who certainly had a patrie to fight for. 

Here in Tripoli the Arabs never have had 

a patrie and never could understand what 

fighting for a Fatherland means. Thus the 

Italians assert that by all the canons of what is 

termed civilised warfare, they did the only wise 

and just thing in summarily executing all who, 

after warning had been so carefully given, were 

found in possession of arms. 

What Lord Roberts wrote about it is worthy 
of reproduction ; he said that " such a desperate 
state of affairs would, in any case, warrant 
desperate measures to re-establish the equilibrium 
ot battle. Time also was pressing, as the main 



28 Tripoli and Young Italy 

attack by the Turks and Arabs was imminent. 
That the means employed to estabHsh what I 
have called the equilibrium of battle was severe 
is doubtless true, but in war it is usually the 
severest measures that are, in the long run, the 
most humane. No soldier will put any credence 
in the reports that women and children were 
deliberately killed by the Italians, but doubtless 
in the act of clearing the hostile villages behind 
the Italian lines many innocent people suffered 
with the guilty. Such things are unfortunately 
inevitable in war. In no army in the world could 
the orders which General Caneva found it im- 
perative to issue for the clearance of the Tripoli 
oasis have been carried out without instances of 
regrettable severity. The very urgency of the 
operation alone would necessitate this severity." 

The Italians were actually charged with killing 
children, but they are passionately fond of babies, 
and their soldiers were naturally very indignant 
over such charges. Among officers and men the 
writer was often called upon for an explanation 
of these outrageous charges, but he could only 
beg that the malevolence of a few journals, and 
blundering indiscretions of others, should not be 
accounted unto the whole British nation. One 
army surgeon demanded to know if the writer 



Discovery of Italy 29 

could guess why the medical corps were not 
wearing their Red Cross badges. It was because 
the Red Cross was nothing less than a tireballe. 
After exhibiting as a triumph of Italian surgical 
skill the radiograph of a badly smashed forearm 
of a Turk, which they had set right again, these 
same surgeons also produced the ugly flattened- 
out jagged bullets which had given them no 
chance of saving their own wounded, and fiercely 
demanded who had a right to talk about " the 
rules of war." The writer had a very uncom- 
fortable quarter of an hour with those army 
surgeons. 

Surely the common sense of the British people 
in particular should have put them on their guard 
immediately they knew that the General Caneva 
had instituted a strict censorship. They could 
easily have imagined the feelings of the crowd 
of war-correspondents who were obliged to kick 
their heels, and keep out of the way of the 
soldiers. Gone were all the chances of brilliant 
blood-stirring "scoops," and it was naturally to 
be expected that when they had to rely solely 
upon their imaginations, pique and temper 
against General Caneva would colour the 
stories of some of the correspondents. The " de- 
spatch-bakery " at Constantinople accomplished 



30 Tripoli and Young Italy 

wonders in the way of Turkish victories and 
Italian "atrocities," but it was hard pressed in 
competition by the "bakeries" of British and 
German correspondents at Malta and Chiasso. 
The most scandalous " stories " were suspected of 
coming from a Press agency in Milan — a strong 
Clerical combination, because from this office came 
the lies about the cholera. This agency was 
responsible for the " 10,000 cases a day at 
Palermo " report, and " eighty-four cholera cases 
in Via Dante, Milan," and so on. The anti- 
Italian •' war-despatches " followed, and event- 
ually the authorities were obliged to order the 
director of the agency, a German, to get out of 
the country. The Vatican denies having any- 
thing to do with the agency, but its exposure 
created a good deal of consternation throughout 
Italy. 

There have been published piles of books in 
English, French, and German, purporting to be 
studies of Italy and the Italians, but for the most 
part they deal with Italy of yesterday, with its 
ancient glories, its art treasures, and its landscape. 
And the few books and review articles which 
affect to treat Italy of to-day have too often 
adopted the attitude of the Superior Person and 
a tone of patronage which has been bitterly 



Discovery of Italy 31 

resented by self-respecting Italians, who are well 
aware that most of the travellers in Italy come 
into contact only with that special class which 
exists to administer to the bodily comfort and 
convenience of tourists, a class which cannot by 
any means be taken as representative of Italy. 
It is quite understandable that foreigners should 
display a keener interest in the works of dead and 
gone Italians than in the works of living Italians ; 
but then that does not fit them to pass judgment 
upon Italy of to-day. Many Americans, for 
instance, only know the Italians by the cheap 
labourers from Southern Italy who pour into 
New York by the hundreds of thousands, and 
they afifect a lofty disdain for the "dago"; but, 
inquisitive globe-trotters as they are, most travel- 
lers from the United States appear to fail alto- 
gether in getting into close touch with the real 
Italy. There are a fortunate few from each 
country who have penetrated the outer works of 
Roman ruins and have got beyond the museums 
of art, and have discovered the living Italy ; and 
they have grown passionately to love this country 
and its people. I f during the period of newspaper 
calumny the British newspaper reader could have 
come among the British colonies in Florence, 
Milan, Rome, or Naples, his ears would have 



32 Tripoli and Young Italy 

burned to listen to the comments of these genuine 
friends of Italy. 

The great British public, just because their only 
educator has been the newspaper, and because 
they have not otherwise taken the trouble to 
learn about other countries, especially could not 
possibly know of the Young Italy that has arisen 
during the past generation. They are still accus- 
tomed to think of Italy in terms of Garibaldi, red 
shirts, macaroni, and oranges. There is a little 
excuse, perhaps, for this, because the Italians 
themselves had, up to only a few months ago, but 
a vague realisation of what was happening to 
themselves. Tripoli not only opened the eyes of 
foreigners, but caused the scales to fall from the 
eyes of the Italians. Just exactly what has taken 
place in their national life it is too early, perhaps, 
to estimate, but it is something big with poten- 
tialities. At present Italy glories in a new-found 
strength, a natural vigour of which only a few 
prophets had dreamed, and which the bulk of 
the Italian nation had not believed to be possible. 
In this respect they are themselves somewhat 
to blame for the poor esteem in which they 
have been held by other countries. For years it 
has been the dominant note in public speech and 
print almost to apologise for the existence on 



Discovery of Italy 33 

earth of the Italian people. They were always 
emphasising their poverty of goods and of ideals 
and lamenting their past glories. When corrup- 
tion was discovered in their public services, they 
set up such a howl that all the world could hear, 
and thus other people got an exaggerated idea of 
the extent of the corruption, when, as a matter of 
fact, it was but as the peccadilloes of schoolboys 
compared to the colossal financial corruptions in 
some other countries. Of course, newspapers thrive 
more upon the reporting of scandal than they do 
upon the reporting of good deeds. They cannot 
catch pennies with the portrayals of virtue. 
Hence many correspondents, having to earn their 
bread and butter, were obliged to fasten upon 
everything " corrupt " in Italian public life, to the 
disregard of everything that counted unto virtue ; 
and thus the outsider got a cinematographic 
picture of Italy of a particularly doleful character. 
" Muck-raking " certainly has a positive value 
when it is done in your own house, but when you 
attempt to do it in your neighbour's, you stultify 
your own efforts if at the same time you close 
your eyes to all the good that there is in your 
neighbour and his house. 

It is perhaps not too much to say that the 
result of all this one-sided portraiture, and of 
3 



34 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Italy's own self-depreciation, has been that some- 
thing approaching to contempt has been felt by 
other countries concerning Italy. This feeling 
was encouraged by the news of the great disaster 
which befell her Abyssinian campaign. Not only 
was it a military debacle, but its moral effect was 
that Italy almost lost all faith in herself. In 
the dark years that followed, Italians went about 
with bowed heads, and any man who dared 
to talk of a bright future for the country was 
sneered at and treated as harebrained. There 
was a decided slump in optimism, and so far as 
any foreign or colonial policy was concerned, 
why ! the Italians refused to listen. This feeling, 
of course, was communicated abroad, until even 
Turkey assumed an attitude of most exasperating 
contempt. Then came Messina, and the foreign 
countries, while despising Italy's seeming weakness 
as a nation, poured out their pity upon her, and 
Italy was exceedingly grateful ; but, of course, 
pity is not respect, and so the plight of Italian 
prestige was worse than ever. 

But believing that her hopes of colonisation 
were blasted, and that she was a negligible 
quantity in the councils of the nations, Italy 
turned her attentions inward and began a really 
efifcctive house-cleaning. So that although she 



Discovery of Italy 35 

has undoubtedly suffered for her procrastination in 
her foreign policy, it is really due directly to the 
vigour and purpose to which she devoted herself to 
home affairs that she has now been able to "make 
good" in international affairs. The social reforms 
which have been effected, and the recovery made 
in her financial position, are very remarkable. 

"No one expected the prompt and energetic 
beginning of military action," writes Cav. Pal- 
liccia ; "no one would have imagined that Italy 
could prepare and land unexpectedly in one 
week an expeditionary force in Marsa Tobruk, 
No one, perhaps, knew that Italy was no longer 
obliged to let her financial and economic needs 
rule her foreign policy. No one, perhaps, knew 
that Italy had 824,000,000 francs ready, sufficient 
to finance the war for over a year ; that the 
Italian budget, which in 1896 had a deficit of 
413,000,000 francs, shows this year a surplus 
of more than 40,000,000 francs, in spite of the 
heavy extraordinary expenses caused by the 
Sicilian earthquake and the Vesuvian eruption ; 
that the deposits in the Postal Savings Bank, 
which amounted in 1894 to nearly 425,000,000 
francs, have now risen to 2,000,000,000 francs ; 
that the economic life of the nation is no more 
at the mercy of foreign capitalists." 



35 Tripoli and Young Italy 

And foreigners were just as ignorant con- 
cerning the great improvement that has been 
effected in the standard of life, naturally coin- 
cident with Italy's financial prosperity. The 
Exhibition at Turin taught those who were 
fortunate enough to visit it a great deal as 
to the gigantic strides being made by Italian 
industry, despite the unfavourable nature of 
her country and the absolute lack of minerals. 
And, discouraging as the country is in a large 
part even to agriculture, the wonderful advance 
which has been made in that respect, chiefly 
through co-operative methods, is also an unknown 
quantity to the foreign newspaper reader, whose 
attention is chiefly occupied by the diplomatic 
duels of the bigger countries and by the internal 
troubles of his own country. What does he 
know of the splendid fight waged by Italy 
against poverty and disease ? And also what does 
he know about the continual bleeding of Italy 
by emigration ? And in spite of this bleeding, 
she was being well-nigh suffocated. Any claims 
which Italy might be supposed to have when the 
dividing up of the earth was being done were 
altogether forgotten ; the foreigner's whole 
attention was engrossed by what the big Powers 
were doing. He did not see that Italy was 



Discovery of Italy 37 

being rapidly hemmed in in the Mediterranean, 
where alone lay any hopes for her expansion, 
and that as expansion was more vital to her than 
to anybody else, she was in danger of asphyxia- 
tion. Italy had the first claim upon Tunis, and 
although she was elbowed out by a more power- 
ful competitor, yet the sons of Italy form the 
population and do the work of that colony. 
Italy stood aside during the gobbling up of 
Morocco, although, but for past blunders of her 
Ministers and the treachery of her " friends," 
she would have been first there to-day. And now, 
when the only remnant left, which is close to her 
own door, comes into the market, so to speak, 
why is it surprising that Italy should make a 
bid for it ? Italy is not to blame for the policy 
of the "mailed fist" and of the "big stick," 
which is the universal policy to-day — the smaller 
nations always stand to lose in such a game ; 
but Italy certainly cannot be blamed for making 
an effort to save herself from being crushed 
under the heel of one of the contending 
leviathans. 

If the foreigner did not know that for years 
Tripoli has been a festering sore in the side of 
Italy, he must blame the foreign affairs editor 
of his newspaper. Certainly, the feeling among 



38 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the Italians themselves was unmistakable, and 
from the highest to the lowest they expressed 
their approval in a decided manner when the 
ultimatum went forth. Of course, when the 
possibility of bloodshed became apparent, there 
was a section of the Socialists and Pacifists 
which sought to stop the war. That was to be 
expected, because the Socialists of all countries 
are supposed to be " agin " war of any kind ; 
but their opposition was of a very half-hearted 
character. There are politicians even among 
the Socialists, and to many of them it did not 
seem very wise "politics" to run counter to 
such an overwhelming majority. The fact that 
the twenty-four hours' general strike called for 
by some of the working-class leaders proved a 
miserable fiasco is eloquent of the people's 
support of the Government policy ; indeed, it 
was openly endorsed by a large number of the 
Socialists themselves, who looked upon the 
present conflict as inevitable. ** There has 
never been in the history of the country," 
writes Signor Luigi Villari, " a cause on which 
the whole nation was so absolutely unanimous. 
Even in the wars of the Risorgimento the real 
enthusiasts were the middle classes and the 
aristocracy, and they were divided into parties 



Discovery of Italy 39 

often bitterly hostile to each other — Monarchists, 
Republicans, Garibaldians. But the Tripoli 
campaign is the war of the Italian people, for 
the people feel that at last their country will 
take its rightful place as a Great Power, and 
that there will now be room for the population 
to expand under the Italian flag without having 
to emigrate and serve under foreign taskmasters. 
Every one feels this, from the landlord and mill- 
owner to the humblest contadino. That is why 
so many thousands of emigrants have left well- 
paid jobs in America to come and serve under 
the colours." 

The revolutionary Socialist, Labriola.in an article 
in the Scintilla, after noting the reaction which had 
occurred in the public opinion against Italy, asserted 
that "the importance of the Tripoli expedition is, 
above all, that Italy has entered upon the scenes, 
and that international situations will no longer be 
changed only by the will of Germany and Eng- 
land, whose rivalry has been until lately the pivot 
around which all international competitions have 
turned." After accusing other Socialists of inepti- 
tude in not understanding the revolutionary value 
of the Italian initiative, Labriola went on to take 
up the cudgels against Karl Kautsky, the German 
Socialist, who had spoken of the Italians as 



40 Tripoli and Young Italy 

" bandits." He reproached him with having 
associated himself with " the imprecations of the 
plutocratic and Imperialistic Press " of his coun- 
try, which had risen against Italy because she had 
crossed the plans of the Imperial Government 
" to obtain from Turkey at Tobruk a coaling- 
station destined to transform Germany into a 
Mediterranean Power." In answer to Kautsky's 
charge that Italy had disregarded the " rights of 
others," Labriola pointed out the fact that Tri- 
poli was not Turkish ground, and described his 
arguments as absurdities. To this famous ex- 
ponent of Karl Marx, Labriola actually quoted 
Marx himself on the " rights of civilisation against 
barbarism, of historical development against quiet- 
ness and stagnation," and asserted that " behind 
Turkey stands the Europe of money, which desires 
its prey, and is angry against those who wish to 
deprive it of this prey ; a Europe that lends to 
Turkey at cent, per cent, and trembles for its 
guarantees." 

The Italian Pacifists were also a divided house 
over the war, but the fact that some of them took 
a decided view in favour of the expedition should 
impress the outsiders who, without information, were 
in a hurry to pass judgment. The veteran peace 
advocate, Moneta, who was formerly President of 



Discovery of Italy 41 

the International Peace and Arbitration Society, 
roundly denounced the action of some of his col- 
leagues, who, he thought, had been unwarrantably 
severe in their judgment and unfair in their con- 
demnation of the Italian Government. The nation 
had to make its choice, he said, between expansion 
and collapse. It had to show its mettle if it was 
not to be treated as a quantity n^gligeabU. It 
had to obey an " inflexible law of history, a decree 
of evolution." 

Briefly, the Italian case is this : 

That Italy could no longer tolerate the perse- 
cution of her countrymen in Tripoli ; 

That Turkey was no longer fit to hold Tripoli ; 

That the taking of Tripoli was a vital, political 
necessity to Italy ; 

That her right to Tripoli had been acknowledged 
for many years by England and France ; 

That there were good reasons to believe that 
she would be forestalled by another Power if 
she hesitated a moment longer ; 

That, indeed, Italy's very existence as a nation 
was being threatened, and to allow the " iron ring " 
around her to be completed, would have been to 
sign her own death-warrant. 



CHAPTER II 

THE CASE AGAINST TURKEY 

TURKEY had stolen Libya, and, although 
possession is nine points of the law, Turkey 
had no more moral right to that country than the 
thief will have to the " Mona Lisa," even after pos- 
sessing it for thirty or forty years. It was by a 
particularly dastardly trick that she robbed the 
Karamanli family of its territory, and the members 
of that family have to this day neither forgiven 
nor forgotten. Of course, just because this 
territory was "stolen goods," the Italians were 
not therefore justified in taking it away from 
the thief; but the fact that Turkey was a thief, 
and took the country by kidnapping its owners, 
should be sufficient answer to those good people 
who are talking so much about Italy's violation 
of the " rights of others." 

Then, the Turks were absolutely unfitted to 
hold and govern Libya, just as they are unfitted 
for government in other countries. Their pre- 



The Case against Turkey 43 

sence has been a positive blight on the place. 
Having stolen it, their only method of governing 
it was to plunder it ; and it is not too strong to say, 
even having regard to the grave faults of other 
colonising Powers, that the continuance of Turk- 
ish control in Tripoli and Cyrenaica was a crime 
against civilisation. The famous German explorer, 
Rohlfs, who knew the country better than any 
other man, remarked that " in Tripolitania more 
than anywhere else the work of Turkey is really 
the negation of any civil government " ; and that 
is what Europe ought to remember now that Italy 
has intervened to heal a situation both shameful 
and degrading. It is fatuous to attempt to mini- 
mise the fact that Tripoli, under Turkish misrule, 
had become an Augean stable, and the sooner 
it was cleaned out the better. Burke once 
referred to " the barbarous anarchic despotism of 
Turkey, where the finest countries, in the most 
genial climates in the world, are wasted by peace 
more than any countries have been worried by 
war ; where arts are unknown, where manufac- 
tures languish, where science is extinguished, 
where agriculture decays, where the human race 
itself melts away, and perishes under the eye of 
the observer." 

And that fits exactly Tripoli under the Turks. 



44 Tripoli and Young Italy 

with the addition that the Turks have studiously 
and deliberately hindered and obstructed progress. 
Possibly they were aware that sooner or later 
they would be driven out of Tripoli, if not by 
Italy, by some other colonising Power, and they 
restricted their administrative energy merely to 
extorting as much as they could from the coun- 
try while they had a chance. And they spent 
nothing in return upon public services or institu- 
tions necessary to civilised communities. Over a 
thousand kilometres of notoriously inaccessible 
coast were left absolutely devoid of ports, and 
those that go down to the sea in ships must be 
thankful that the French put up a few lighthouses, 
making navigation possible. Of course, this did 
not worry the Turks ; it suited their game to keep 
not only the coast but the hinterland inaccessible 
to strangers. Thus, with no attempt being made 
on the part of the Government to encourage the 
raising of necessary capital and the introduction 
of the methods of civilisation, the whole history 
of the Turkish occupation is one long story of 
exploitation, of the imposition of taxes beyond the 
limits of the possible, and of the ruthless destruction 
by fire and sword of the indigenous people who 
could not, or would not, pay the price demanded. 
Both Englishrnenand Frenchmen, and travellers 



The Case against Turkey 45 

of other nationalities as well, can and do testify 
to the massacre of innocent men, women, and 
children by the unspeakable Asiatic Turks, let 
loose as gendarmerie in the interior of Libya to 
enforce the plundering decrees of this despotism. 
In the castles and barracks of Bengasi and 
Tripoli, which the Italians bombarded and now 
occupy, it was a regular custom at five o'clock in 
the afternoon for the Turks to bring out their 
prisoners into the courtyards, and to the sound 
of military music, which drowned their groans 
and shrieks, to have these poor unfortunates 
beaten and tortured. And it was the political 
prisoners, often men of refinement and standing, 
not common criminals, who were subjected to the 
worst of these tortures. To the truth of this state- 
ment many travellers can testify, who, on passing 
the barracks at this particular hour, have heard 
continued shrieks of pain, which not even the 
strident Turkish music could wholly smother. 
Having regard to these barbarous methods of 
government, it is not surprising that, while the 
neighbouring countries of Egypt and Tunis were 
rapidly reverting to something of their ancient 
prosperity and well-being, Libya remained arid, 
uncultivated, and hermetically closed to all 
progress and civilisation. An Eastern proverb 



46 Tripoli and Young Italy 

says that ** Grass never grows where the Turkish 
hoof has trod " ! 

Nothing flourished save the slave trade, 
brought from the centre of Africa to the Medi- 
terranean coast by the caravan routes of the 
Fezzan and the Wadai, the caravans returning 
laden with arms, contraband goods which have 
played no small part in the perpetual warfare 
being waged by Islam against the pioneers from 
European countries. The Turk always pre- 
tended not to see or hear what was going on, 
and it is well known that no small portion of 
the dishonest gains of these contraband mer- 
chants went into his pocket. The Tripoli Turks 
sent as presents to their relatives and friends 
in other parts of the Empire slaves illicitly 
brought into their own provinces. Not only did 
the Turks fail to guarantee the safety of the 
ordinary caravan routes as they were bound 
down to do, thus allowing the erstwhile rich 
commerce, which came to Tripoli and other 
coast towns of Libya, to be diverted into Egypt 
and Tunis, where safety was guaranteed and 
the commerce subjected to only comparatively 
light imposts ; but, if the charges are true that 
are made against them, the lawless soldiery were 
themselves guilty of looting the caravans. 



The Case against Turkey 47 

In addition to the shameful trade in human 
flesh, the Turks were responsible for the con- 
tinuance of another cruel commerce against which 
the civilised world long ago protested. While 
on all the other coasts washed by the Medi- 
terranean, sponge-fishing by means of divers 
going to great depths has been rigorously 
prohibited, the Turkish Government allowed it 
to flourish on the Libyan coast, the divers fre- 
quently being sent to depths of eighty metres, 
when a depth of thirty metres is dangerous to 
life. Statistics of this trade show that on account 
of the intoxication produced by the oxygen, and 
on account of the great and alternating pressure 
of the air-column, about a hundred and thirty 
fishermen die annually in these seas ; and some 
fifty others become stone deaf, or are subject to 
vertigo, convulsions, and partial or complete 
paralysis. The Turkish officials, forgotten or un- 
paid by the Government at Constantinople, per- 
mitted anything whereby they were able to 
pocket a little commission for themselves. These 
nefarious practices were well known, and were 
attested to by the Consuls of Britain, Russia, 
France, and Italy, who on various occasions 
made strong representations regarding them ; but 
although the usual obsequious promise was readily 



48 Tripoli and Young Italy 

forthcoming from the Turks, not the slightest 
effort was made to rectify matters. 

It is the fashion of those peculiar people who 
have suddenly discovered a passionate love for 
Turkey to assume that Turkish dominion was 
perfectly acceptable to the Arabs and the other 
indigenous peoples of Libya ; when the truth is 
exactly the contrary. Not only had the country 
been allowed to become the refuge of pirates and 
one of the last strongholds of the slave-traders, 
but it had been rendered sterile and uncultivated 
because of the plundering of the natives, who 
were quite content to cultivate the soil in their 
own primitive ways if not robbed of their pro- 
duce. Naturally, with the caravan trade being 
diverted into other countries, and agricultural 
and local industry declining, the revenue of the 
Turkish exploiters diminished rapidly, and the 
only remedy they could propose was the levy- 
ing of fresh imposts. They taxed the people, 
the cattle, the trees, the plants, the huts, the 
wells, the food. The first impositions in 
the way of direct taxation were made about 
1 90 1, and met with a threatening resistance from 
the Arabs. There were enormous demonstra- 
tions outside the walls of Tripoli, and threats 
of reprisals were made. For a time the imposts 



The Case against Turkey 49 



were successfully evaded, but the wily Turk 
soon discovered a means of ensuring his revenue. 
He farmed out the collection of the taxes. The 
duty was delegated to the Arab chiefs, who 
paid lump sums to the Turks for the privilege. 
It meant practically giving them power of life 
and death over the poorer Arabs, and gendarmes 
were lent to them to carry out their work. For 
one or two thousand francs cash down, a chief 
was allowed to do practically what he liked ; and 
he did not fail to skin his victims down to the 
ground. Inevitably, this gave rise to much dis- 
content and frequent resistance of a disorganised 
character, which, however, was ruthlessly crushed. 
A large amount of property was confiscated and 
stolen in this manner, and so oppressive were 
the imposts, that thousands of trees were de- 
liberately cut down in order to avoid paying 
the tax upon them. In one district alone in 
Cyrenaica over 16,000 palm, olive, and orange 
trees were cut down because it paid the owners 
better to do this than to pay the tax upon them. 
The cultivation of the soil became wellnigh im- 
possible under such circumstances ; there was no 
replanting of trees and the oases dwindled, the 
work of searching for new water sources became 
paralysed, and with irrigation wofully insufficient 
4 



50 Tripoli and Young Italy 

something like famine came upon the people. 
The Bedouins in particular found life unbearable, 
and migrated principally into Egypt, where 
labour was given a better chance. France also 
profited greatly by this emigration. The Arabs 
are none too prone to manual labour, and they 
certainly found no encouragement to cultivate 
the land under such outrageous conditions. 

The best wealth of a country is the population 
itself, and not only has the soil been rendered 
sterile and the oases denuded, but the oppression 
of the Turks has robbed the country of its people. 
Ever since the Revolution in Turkey, the Arabs 
and the Jews of Libya have jealously guarded 
their exemption from serving in the Turkish 
Army, but this privilege was annulled on March 1 7, 
191 1. When the conscripts were called up, there 
were many outbreaks of rebellion. The Arab 
will fight as no other fighter will, when duly 
worked up by religious fanaticism, but he strongly 
disapproved the attempt to drill him into a regular 
war machine ; and the Fezzans also proved very 
obstreperous. Rather than serve, many fled the 
country, and the writer was assured by Signor 
Saman, of the Italian Consulate, that not less 
than ten thousand of the sturdiest young Arabs 
had left the country around Tripoli and gone over 



The Case against Turkey 51 

into French territory. It is only necessary to 
attend in Tripoli the distribution of the mail from 
the French colony, and watch the seething multi- 
tude of Arabs scrambling for their letters, to 
realise something of the magnitude of the " trek " 
into Tunis and what a loss it has meant to Libya. 
There was not the slightest love lost, then, 
between the Arabs and the Turks, and it was 
but a natural result that, plundered and persecuted 
as they were, the Arabs avowed they would 
welcome any European Power that would inter- 
vene and remove their oppressors. With the 
growing influence of the Italians, who were 
reviving for them a little of their lost trade, it 
followed that appeals were made to the Italian 
Government to take their part, and a petition, 
signed by a large number of the influential Arabs 
in Cyrenaica, was actually sent to Rome. So 
sanguine were the Arabs in Bengasi that very 
soon the Italian fleet would appear in answer to 
their cry, that they laid in large stocks of red, 
white, and green flags and bunting in preparation. 
But the Italian fleet never came, the Arabs had 
to use up the red, white, and green material for 
baraccani for their women and children, and, 
realising that the Italians seemed unable to obtain 
redress for the persecution and even murder of 



52 Tripoli and Young Italy 

their nationals, and how other nations were 
ostentatiously favoured to the exclusion of 
Italians, they gradually lost faith in the Italian 
Government. The Arabs are like all Orientals 
in their esteem for force and strength and 
authority, and the apparent weakness of the 
Italians disappointed them. Naturally, the sub- 
sequent hostility of the Arabs and their armed 
opposition to the Italians requires some explana- 
tion in view of this, but it is a fact that in the 
opening days of the hostilities not a single Arab 
took up arms against the invaders. The Turks 
immediately set to work, however, to preach the 
Holy War, with embellishments, alleging that the 
Italians would ravage the women and children of 
the Arabs. A few were won over, and, taking 
part in the fighting, were killed. The rest was 
easy for the preachers of the Holy War. They 
had only to point to the slain Arabs to show the 
Italian intention to wipe out Islam. 

Bearing in mind the original theft, the subse- 
quent Turkish plundering and laying waste of the 
country, the iniquities encouraged, the oppression 
of the people, all fair-minded persons, perhaps 
even those who hold " Ottomans," must admit 
that the measure was full to overflowing, and that 
some European Power was bound to intervene 



The Case against Turkey 53 

before long. But over and above all this, Italy 
had her own case against the Turks. It did not 
take the Turk very long to reason out that 
Morocco, Algiers, and Tunis were irrevocably 
lost to the Ottoman Empire, even if he had ever 
dreamt of attaining temporal as well as spiritual 
control there ; and so it was vital to his headship 
of Islam that he should cling tenaciously to what 
was left. If England and France had been strong 
enough to push Mohammedanism back into the 
desert, Turkey was certainly not going to allow 
Italy, for whose military strength she had but 
ill-concealed contempt, to hustle her out of 
Tripolitania. It might be asked why then was it 
assumed that Turkey would open the door to her 
friend Germany .'' But while it would have served 
Germany's present purpose to have port privileges 
or a coaling-station, it was obvious that, from 
their rapidly-growing interests and pushfulness, 
the Italians meant real business. Hence the 
violently anti-Italian attitude, the premeditated 
policy of pin-pricks, the exasperating evasion of 
all honest treaties and undertakings. The " slim- 
ness " of the Turks was never better illustrated 
than in Tripoli. While the Sublime Porte invited 
the world to look on and admire the genuineness 
of her affection for Italy, and her sincere desire to 



54 Tripoli and Young Italy 

meet her wishes, definite orders were given to the 
Tripoli officials to pursue a policy of provocation 
and obstruction of all Italians and every thing 
Italian. Indeed, one Vali, who was recalled from 
Tripoli over some particularly outrageous piece 
of work, complained bitterly that he should be 
punished for carrying out the instructions of his 
own Foreign Office. 

On the outbreak of hostilities the Italian Foreign 
Office sent out an official communique to its Am- 
bassadors and Consuls outlining some of Italy's 
grievances against Turkey, and explaining that 
Italy's drastic action was but the epilogue to a long 
series of insults and "obstructive antagonisms" 
on the part of the Turks against Italy and the 
Italians. From every part of the kingdom had 
come innumerable complaints demanding that the 
Government should put an end once for all to the 
high-handed actions, oppressions, and injustices 
they had had to endure at the hands of the Turks. 
And with a patience almost unbelievable the 
Italian Government had gone on making request 
after request for redress. The Sublime Porte 
answered in almost every case that the matter 
should have immediate attention : but, as a matter 
of fact, nothing was ever done. 

" All the wrongs to which Italian subjects were 



The Case against Turkey 55 

subjected in the various portions of the Ottoman 
Empire remain unrectified," San GiuHano's com- 
muniqud declares, " as well as those which 
originated during the massacre of Adana in 1 909, 
and during the spoliation of the Agency of the 
Societa della Navigazione Generale Italiana at 
Santiquaranta. And an infinite number of other 
complaints and controversies exist of a more or less 
grave character, as, for instance, the lack of respect 
shown to the employees of Italian Consulates, 
even going to the extent of assaults on their 
persons, which all prove the inimical iitmosphere 
that surrounds our subjects, and which do not 
correspond to the renewed official relations exist- 
ing between the two States." 

With the new regime, which awakened so much 
hope in Italy, these regrettable occurrences in- 
creased in number and importance. " Quite recently 
a very serious case occurred, namely, the rape of 
the sixteen-year old minor, Giulia Franzoni, who 
was fraudulently kidnapped from her family, 
workers on the Ottoman railway in Adana, 
imprisoned, and forcibly converted to Islamism, 
and married to a Mussulman, despite the protests 
of her parents and foreigners of other national- 
ities, and despite the intervention of the Italian 
Consulate and the Embassy. This occurrence, 



56 Tripoli and Young Italy 

which would be of grave importance to any 
nation, is still graver for Italy, who has to pro- 
tect a large number of Italian emigrants occupied 
in the work of building railroads in Asia Minor. 
The very fact that this barbaric system of con- 
version by force, and this abduction of an innocent 
girl, remain unpunished, may lead to other similar 
actions against the whole working-class population, 
who are chiefly Italians, and who are obliged, 
owing to their work, to live in these regions." 

About the murders of Padre Giustino and 
Gastone Terreni, to which the communique also 
makes reference, the writer was able to glean 
from Italian officials in Tripoli, charged with the 
investigation, evidence which looks very ugly 
indeed for Turkey. The doing to death of the 
kindly Father Giustino was a dastardly deed, 
committed with an almost incredible ferocity, and 
justifies the Italians in Tripoli in saying that the 
Turks would stop at nothing to prevent the 
growth of Italian influence. The reverend Father 
had won the affection of a large number of the 
Arabs and other indigenous peoples in the dis- 
trict of Derna, and his work had been so successful 
that he had bought land on which to build a church. 
He was intimidated and threatened by the Turkish 
officials, but he persistently refused to give up the 



The Case against Turkey 57 

land again. So one day he was found done to 
death. There were five different wounds in his 
body, and it was easily discernible that each wound 
had been inflicted by a different weapon, proving 
that at least five persons were directly concerned 
in the murder. The Italian Government demanded 
that the assassins should be punished, but they 
could not be found, although resident Italians 
openly charged certain Turkish officials with direct 
complicity. All that followed was a shuffling of 
officials, and the one who was suspected of playing 
a prominent part in the crime was promoted ! 

The clearing up of the murder of Gastone 
Terreni, an Italian resident of Tripoli, was 
no more satisfactory. Gastone Terreni was 
something of a journalist, and, because of his 
exceptional knowledge of Oriental languages, 
was frequently employed as a guide into the 
interior. He was the author of several articles 
which told the truth unpleasantly for Turkish 
administration, especially concerning their ill- 
treatment of the Arabs. Naturally, he was a 
marked man. He was engaged in some investi- 
gation at Sidi Ben-Hur, where he was met by 
Turkish soldiers, who offered no objection to his 
exploration, although in all other cases the most 
decided objection had been taken to Italian travel- 



58 Tripoli and Young Italy 

lers and exploration. He was even the guest of 
the Turks one evening ; but next morning his body 
was found lying stretched halfway on to the 
narrow balcony across the threshold of his 
room, with a bullet wound right through his 
head. Noise of the death reached Tripoli, and 
immediately Signor Saman set about making 
inquiries. The authorities professed ignorance, 
and said they knew of no Italian being at 
Sidi ; but when twenty-four hours had elapsed, 
giving time to clear things up a little, they admitted, 
first that there was a dead man, secondly that he 
was an Italian, and thirdly that he had committed 
suicide. Signor Saman made an investigation, 
and the Italian authorities did not let the matter 
rest. The bullet had entered Terreni's head from 
behind and had come out at the forehead, which 
clearly refuted the idea of suicide. Besides, the 
pistol carried by Terreni, of Montenegro manu- 
facture, was of such a large and awkward pattern 
that it was clearly impossible for him to have in- 
flicted the wound with it himself. The chief 
assassin was made sergeant of gendarmerie, and 
up to the Italian occupation was walking about 
Tripoli very pleased with himself 

•' For these barbarous crimes," the communique 
remarks, " it proved impossible to obtain any 



The Case against Turkey 59 

satisfaction or to get a serious criminal or civil 
investigation, though this was demanded by the 
families of the dead, and insisted upon by the 
diplomatic and consular authorities. Declarations 
such as ' There is no cause for interference,' or 
* An amnesty has wiped out this special offence,' 
was all that the local authorities condescended to 
give in reply. Such deplorable actions, notoriously 
caused by the hatred of Turks for the Italian, 
filled the Italian colony with consternation and 
discouragement, and every useful initiative was 
discouraged. Every intervention on the part of 
the Royal Consular authorities in the Vilayet was 
openly or secretly undermined by the Turkish 
authorities." When the subject of any other 
country had a grievance, there was a different story 
to tell. For instance, recently an American painter, 
Johnson, was arrested because he was painting a 
mosque. In less than twenty-four hours the Vali, 
with public ceremony in the market-place, dismissed 
the two policemen who had arrested the painter. 

Quite recently, Gustave Arbib, the member of a 
family long resident in Tripoli, journalist, and 
proprietor of the newspaper L Eco di Tripoli, 
brought upon his head also the persecution of 
the Turks for telling something of the truth. 
He was set upon by gendarmes and beaten. He 



6o Tripoli and Young Italy 

naturally defended himself, and was arrested for 
assault. Signor Saman took up the matter, and 
sought to see Arbib in prison, but objection was 
made. However, he went there, and, on being 
refused, brushed aside a gendarme and forced 
his way into the room where Arbib was. For 
this he was cited and ordered to appear before 
the Court for assault. This, of course, was 
contrary to all international procedure, that the 
Dragoman of a foreign Consulate should be cited 
for having concerned himself with a subject of 
his own country, and strong representations were 
made at Constantinople on the matter. Arbib 
was condemned, but did not serve any imprison- 
ment, and the matter rested sans fini. 

This uninterrupted series of violations, intimi- 
dations, and mishandlings was quite openly 
favoured and approved by a local paper, the 
official organ of the Vali of the Vilayet, printed 
in his own printing-office, and inspired by him. 
It had a large circulation among the Arabs, and 
never omitted an opportunity to offend and 
insult Italy, and published vehement tirades on 
the industrial and commercial expansion of the 
Italians in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. " Take 
care," it said, " because if this spot of oil expands 
much more, we shall one day find ourselves 



The Case against Turkey 61 

turned out of our own house." That Turkish 
editor possibly never thought his prophecy would 
come true, and went on to bait the Italians in 
every issue of his sheet. Alternating with articles 
on the advantages which would come to Turkey 
if she would make concessions to some European 
Powers, preferably to Germany, which might put 
a stop to Italy's encroachment, appeared articles 
gloating over Italy's defeat in Abyssinia, and 
pouring ridicule upon Italy's pretensions as a 
military nation. The paper even went so far as 
to incite its readers to show by physical force 
their disapproval of the Italians, and, especially 
during the few months previous to the bombard- 
ment, Italians and other Europeans in general 
went about in fear for their bodily safety. 

The Turkish Government was very much 
opposed to all attempts on the part of the people 
of any nation to explore the hinterland of 
Tripolitania. But it was particularly opposed 
to the Italians in this respect. Request after 
request for permission was refused, while any 
attempts to go " accidentally " off the beaten 
track were met by rough handling at the hands 
of a particularly low breed of gendarmes. Even- 
tually San Filippo and Sforza, two Italian 
engineers, were accorded permission for a miner- 



62 Tripoli and Young Italy 

alogical expedition ; but although, after a great 
deal of pressure had been brought to bear on it, 
the Turkish Government had finally granted this 
permission, Ibrahim Pasha at Tripoli, obviously 
with the encouragement of Constantinople, began 
to put all kinds of obstacles in their way. 
At first he said he was sorry, but it was im- 
possible to find enough camels — and it did seem 
as if there was nobody who wanted even a good 
price for his camels. But the engineers set to 
work and got camels for themselves. Then 
other obstacles were put in their way ; but the 
explorers kept their tempers and overcame the 
obstacles ; and when at last they could not be 
kept from starting, a Turkish officer was sent 
with them as escort, but with instructions to 
make things as uncomfortable as he possibly 
could. He followed out his instructions so well 
that before long the explorers insisted upon the 
man's withdrawal and the substitution of another 
officer. Constantinople made objections, but at 
last recalled the officer, Zonara, and substituted 
another, Orphella. Where the expedition is now, 
nobody knows. At first it was thought that they 
had been quietly got rid of, but happily there 
is now some reason to believe that they are still 
alive, although in the hands of the Turks. 



I 



The Case against Turkey 63 

Last year an Italian archaeological mission 
sought permission to excavate in Cyrenaica, and 
waited long and patiently for the reply from 
Constantinople. After a considerable time had 
elapsed, and the Italians had about given up 
hope, there suddenly came the bald intimation 
to the head of the Italian party of archaeologists, 
who had taken up his abode in Bengasi, that the 
concession for the excavation had been given to 
an archaeological mission from America. When 
protests were made, the only answer was that 
the firman was from the Sultan himself. The 
true history of this affair has not been published 
in full; but one or two Italians of eminence 
accuse the German Emperor of having exerted 
his tremendous influence in Constantinople in the 
case of the Americans, while remaining neutral in 
the Italian case. 

" From the reports of our Consuls," to quote 
again from San Giuliano's statement, " from 
accounts of visitors returning from those parts, 
it is fairly manifest that there is a deliberate 
desire to create an unfriendly 7nilieu for all 
Italian interests, almost as if they mistrusted 
the growing development of Italian commerce. 
The attitude of the Ottoman authorities in the 
Red Sea, and on the Arabian coast of the 



64 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Eritrean colony, has always been overbearing 
and provocative. It would take too long to re- 
count the whole of the series of incidents in which 
the Italian flag was insulted. We will cite only a 
few of those that have occurred under the * new 
regime.* On June 5th, 1909, the gunboat 
Murakad, at the distance of forty kilometres 
from the Turkish coast, took forcible possession 
of 2,340 thalers which were on board the Italian 
sambuk (sailing-boat) Selima — a veritable act of 
piracy devoid of extenuating circumstances. 

•' Recently the incident of the Genoa has had 
a certain notoriety. It was held up by a Turkish 
gunboat near Hobaida, and subjected to indig- 
nities and an attempt at armed appropriation. 
Animated by a conciliatory spirit, the Italian 
Government was willing to investigate the 
incident. The results of the investigation, so far 
as the local officials were concerned, would have 
disgraced any civilised Government. Nor was 
that enough. During the time that the case 
of the Genoa was being investigated, the com- 
mander of a Turkish gunboat, on December 5th, 
1 9 10, boarded the sambuk Selima and obliged 
the captain to deliver up to him the mail ad- 
dressed to the merchants of Massowah. High- 
handed proceedings of equal gravity were 



The Case against Turkey 65 

also taken to the injury of the Eritrean sambuks 
belonging to AH Kozem and Kalid Hamed, 
while the Turkish authorities, who were always 
glad of a chance to injure the commerce of 
Eritrea, molested other sambuks on August 21st, 
191 1. Knowing that they might do so with 
impunity, the Turkish authorities boarded the 
Ottoman sambuk Fath-el-Salem, which was 
loaded with goods from Eritrea, beat the captain, 
threw him into the sea, and abandoned the 
damaged sail-boat, after having ransacked and 
annexed the cargo, including the provisions. 
The Eritrean merchants have been so terrorised 
by the continual threats coming from the 
Turkish authorities on the Arabian coast, that 
they have in great part given up trading. This 
means a great loss to our colony. 

"In Tripolitania this systematic animosity on 
the part of the Ottoman authorities assumes 
even greater proportions, and shows itself now 
by open and high-handed, now by sly and 
malevolent, actions. The authorities seem sfuided 
by one sole principle, that is to make war 
against all Italian economic and commercial 
interests, and to hinder by every possible 
means the development of Italian influence. 
Let us cite only a few examples out of a 
5 



66 Tripoli and Young Italy 

long series in order to convince even the most 
indifferent reader. In Tripolitania the Banco di 
Roma was instituted with Italian capital, a really 
beneficent work, calculated to assist the economic 
progress and civilisation of the country. The 
authorities forbade the natives to have any 
dealings with this institution, and in cases of 
disobedience punished them for some imaginary 
transgression. The bank was hindered from 
obtaining legal legislation before local law-courts, 
and when, after two years of troublesome pro- 
ceedings, recognition could no longer be refused, 
the harassing took another form. Although the 
governing Valis of the Vilayet were being con- 
tinually changed, the policy remained always the 
same, until in 1910 the new Vali, Ibrahim Pasha, 
declared quite frankly to the Administrative 
Council that he would offer unceasing and 
systematic resistance against all Italian initiative, 
and he made it clearly understood that these were 
the instructions of his Government. Hence all 
Italian proposals and attempts to obtain con- 
cessions such as aqueducts, wireless installation, 
road-making, etc., were simply rejected. In de- 
fiance of our treaties the Turks hindered our 
subjects from acquiring land and from conducting 
any other similar operations. At Homs, Bengasi, 



The Case against Turkey 67 

and Derna the natives willing to sell land to 
the Italians were menaced, and revenge was 
taken under futile pretexts on those who dis- 
obeyed. Contrary to definite agreements, every 
possible obstacle was put in the way of our 
archaeological and mineralogical missions. The 
same opposition was raised against all other Italian 
enterprises, such as mills, oil-presses, and 
especially against our shipping. The terrorised 
natives, fearful of the revenges threatened, dare 
not avail themselves of any of our benevolent 
institutions or enterprises." 

The Banco di Roma, a limited liability concern 
recently founded in Italy with a large capital 
of Vatican and Clerical money, professes that 
its aim is to further Italian commerce with the 
East, and for this reason, no less than for 
patriotic reasons — for the directors avow that 
they are none the less patriots because they are 
strict Catholics — decided to establish a branch 
bank in Tripoli. In April 1907 this was opened, 
and another in the same year at Bengasi. Of 
course they had to reckon with the obstructive 
Turk, who put every imaginable and unimagin- 
able obstacle in their way, so that after a great 
deal of bickering they were forced to buy their 
property and to carry on their affairs under 



68 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the names of Arab men of straw, who, however, 
had to be paid well for their services, because of 
the intimidation of the Turks. They were con- 
tinually being menaced with the forcible closing 
of the two banks. The Banco di Roma was 
thus in a sense obliged to function illegally, 
and many months passed before it was allowed 
to put out its escutcheon, the Turks protesting 
that it was nothing but a political concern. It 
was only after endless delays and provoking 
arguments that its existence was officially recog- 
nised in a Note exchanged between the Italian 
Embassy at Constantinople and the Sublime 
Porte. But that did not mean much, for con- 
current with this recognition came orders from 
Constantinople to the local functionaries to harass 
the bank in its operations. The Arabs were 
openly threatened if they did not boycott the 
bank, and the demeanour of the gendarmes 
certainly frightened off a good many ; but a 
large and increasing number made use of the 
bank, visiting it by means of a little secret door, 
being glad to escape from the yoke of Jewish 
usury. Not only were Arab and Jewish clients 
of the bank menaced, but even the subjects of 
other nations were warned. There ensued 
obstructions, complications, litigations, revoca- 



The Case against Turkey 69 

tions of trade-permits, denials, and excuses, 
which at one time nearly overcame the dogged 
persistence of the bank officials. The bank 
bought some land from an Italian family, but 
it was a year and a half before the transfer was 
ratified. Signor Piazza has described the com- 
plicated process to be gone through before an 
Italian might acquire land, although Arab or 
other owners were perfectly willing to sell. 
The first procedure of the Turks was to cast 
doubt upon the seller's right to the land, which 
could only be established by a declaration from 
the religious head of the place. Often this 
religious head was not to be found, most likely 
because he was away on a long journey, usually to 
Mecca. In this particular case of the bank, the 
Italian Arbib family had to produce in court the 
man from whom they had bought the land fifteen 
years before ; and when at last they found him, 
the man admitted alright that he had signed the 
conveyance, but added: "And I also remember 
that fifteen years ago, when the Italians made 
me sign the contract, I was completely drunk ! " 
When all other excuses were exhausted, there 
came an order from the Vali prohibiting a 
transfer of land, because it was impossible to 
allow Europeans to hold land near to fortifica- 



70 Tripoli and Young Italy 

tions. Many a time an Arab who had been 
pressing an Italian to buy his land would 
suddenly appear and say that he was very 
sorry, but his affection for his house was so 
great that it would be too great a wrench to 
part with it. He had had the usual little 
message from the Turks. 

The Banco di Roma managed to get two mills 
erected, one for grinding corn, and the other as an 
oil-press, but neither were allowed to function 
for some time, one excuse being that they had 
been built as barracks for Italian soldiers. Per- 
mission to establish a system of electric lighting, 
to build a light railway, to make roads, or landing- 
stages for the shipping was refused in a decided 
manner. As an offset to the Turkish encourage- 
ment of the establishment of the Deutsche 
Levant Linie, the Banco di Roma initiated a line 
of steamers to serve the ports of Italy, Egypt, and 
Tripolitania ; but before the Arab merchants could 
rejoice at this important innovation, the Turks 
intervened and forced them to boycott the line, 
and the whole fleet of smaller boats which favoured 
that trade. It was only after strong protests from 
the Italian Government that the boycott ceased ; 
and at a time when meat prices were high in Italy 
and any relief would have been welcomed, the 



The Case against Turkey 71 

efforts of the Italian traders to ship cattle were 
effectually nipped in the bud. The traders had 
already started to buy cattle for export. A big con- 
signment had actually been brought to the coast 
ready for shipment, but on the morning the cattle 
were to be taken aboard, there came an iracU of 
the Vali prohibiting the exportation of cattle, 
and giving as a reason the excuse that the local 
supply was needed for the maintenance of the 
troops! An Italian firm began to purchase horses 
for export, and twenty days afterwards there came 
another order prohibiting the exportation of 
horses, which also were required for military 
purposes ! 

" From all this it can be clearly deduced " (to 
quote further from the communique) "that the 
Italian Government found itself face to face with 
a deliberate programme of aversion towards Italian 
subjects and Italian enterprise in the Ottoman 
Empire in general, and in Tripolitania in parti- 
cular. The warm and almost universal sym- 
pathy with which Italy greeted the advent to 
power of the Young Turks, the resolve to give 
the new regime time to consolidate itself, the 
wish to create no difficulties or embarrassments 
to the Ottoman Empire or to Europe, urged her 
;o pursue a policy of patience and leniency 



12 Tripoli and Young Italy 

such as has never yet been seen in the history 
of nations. Italy hoped for the consolidation of 
the new regime, for the accepting of good advice, 
for the acknowledgment of injuries inflicted, for 
an attitude of friendship, which on our side was 
carried to the point of sacrificing our own interests. 

" But it was all in vain. Every day the 
situation grew worse : in return for our patient 
attitude we met in Constantinople either a 
Government that made promises in sweet words 
and did not keep them, or a Government devoid 
of authority, and incapable of forcing obedience 
on its local authorities ; a Government that lacked 
the strength to see that its commercial treaties, 
capitulations, and other obligations were respected 
and observed ; in a word, a Government which, 
in regard to Italy, was entirely failing in the 
fulfilment of its international duties. 

"The measure was therefore running over. The 
violent and unrestricted attacks of the Ottoman 
Press, the systematic obstructionism, the bad 
faith of the subordinate officials, the extraordi- 
nary number of daily increasing incidents and 
grievances of every kind, have resulted in rousing 
and wearying Italian public opinion, as well as 
the Italian Press and Parliament. Italy has 
lost all confidence that the questions in dis- 



The Case against Turkey 73 

pute between her and Turkey can be settled 
in a friendly way. Disillusioned by so many fair 
words and mendacious promises given her during 
the past years, she has lost patience, has resolved 
to put an end to all further tolerance that might 
be regarded as weakness or the acknowledgment 
of inferiority, and to exert herself to the utmost 
to obtain respect for her own rights. The blame 
for this falls upon those who for the last three 
years have daily provoked us by small and great 
incidents, and have created an atmosphere of 
hostility to us in the various provinces of the 
Empire, and in particular in Tripolitania, where 
the safety of our Italian subjects is threatened, 
and the peaceful development of the commerce of 
Eritrea in the Red Sea is in danger." 

If the peoples of foreign countries remained in 
ignorance of all this, every foreign Government 
was perfectly well aware of what was going on. 
German and Austrian newspapers sympathised 
with Italy's claim for redress before the out- 
break of hostilities and when nobody dreamed 
that Italy would take such drastic action as 
she did, and asserted that Turkey could grant 
much of what Italy desired without loss of 
dignity. The Neue Freie Presse in particular 
took up Italy's case, and said that Italy's aspira- 



74 Tripoli and Young Italy 

tions had nothing but the most cordial sympathy 
in Vienna as elsewhere. If, this influential 
journal argued, the Turkish Government was 
itself unable to provide for the economical de- 
velopment of Tripolitania, it had nc right to 
put obstacles before Italian initiative, as Italy's 
aim, it was convinced, was exclusively of an 
economic character. At any rate, it declared, 
the Italian Government could not let this deplor- 
able state of things continue. Of course, the 
declaration of war changed the tune, and the 
Austrian Press joined in the chorus of con- 
demnation. 

Young Turkey, at any rate ever since her 
advent to supreme power in Constantinople, has 
been under no delusions respecting Italy's de- 
mands in Libya, Along with the strengthening 
of her Imperial Army she was training an army 
for Tripoli, and had set about the purchase of a 
fleet. " The Young Turk," wrote one authority, 
"is nothing if not a Chauvinist, and he has vented 
his Chauvinist feelings at the expense of Italy. 
Crispi would have sent the fine Italian fleet to 
Smyrna last year if recent events had occurred in 
his day. Even the more cautious Signor Tittoni, 
when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
threatened to send it to Mitylene." On many 



The Case against Turkey 75 

occasions Tanin, the organ of the Young Turks, 
was exasperatingly oracular about the Italian 
theme, and as a matter of fact, long before the 
inauguration of actual fighting, there prevailed 
a state of diplomatic war between the two 
countries. But to such an extent did the Turks 
carry their contempt for Italy, that although they 
were certainly strengthening the fortifications 
along the coast, and that in defiance of Italy's 
protests, yet they sent only a few thousand more 
troops over to Libya to reinforce the existing 
garrison. They affected to assume that Italy was 
bluffing, and counted upon having a well-trained 
Arab army in existence to meet the Italian attack 
when it did come. For, of course, they knew 
that it would inevitably come some day. It 
was as great a shock to the Young Turk, 
however, as it was to the Old World in general, 
when Italy, through her Foreign Minister, San 
Giuliano, sent her ultimatum on the night of 
September 26, with a peremptory request for 
an answer within twenty-four hours. 



CHAPTER III 

THE POLITICAL NECESSITY 

TRIPOLI was a vital political necessity to 
Italy. This is the important consideration 
conscientious critics are bound to face. Of 
course even if some of those newspaper moralists 
who were suddenly seized with such zeal for 
righteousness had been in full possession of all 
the facts, they might still have refused to admit 
that Italy's grievances against Turkey amounted 
to much, and still have concurred with the Times 
remark, that they "hardly afford an adequate 
explanation of such drastic action." But this 
assumption that Italy's recital of her case against 
the Turks in Tripoli, strong as that case un- 
doubtedly is, constitutes the only ground for the 
expedition, is most unwarrantable, in fact a sign 
of appalling obtuseness and inexcusable ignorance. 
This is the gnat at which the British Peace 
Society is straining when, above the signature of 
sundry pacifist peers, it circulates a manifesto 

76 



The Political Necessity 77 

among the legal fraternity of Italy disputing the 
matter on a point of law. But when a Peace 
journal asserts that " Turkey and humanity are 
synonymous terms," ought we any longer to take 
these people seriously? for it really seems as 
if, like Providence, the Peace Society is always to 
be found on the side of the big battalions. These 
benevolent people remain comparatively quiescent 
when, under the cover of diplomacy, the big 
Powers ride roughshod over lesser nationalities. 
They are still dallying with the doctrine of 
original sin, and, with a touching faith, are 
seeking to change the wicked hearts of men ; 
but they rigidly set their faces against any study 
of the enormous economic factors at work in 
modern world evolution. They can only think 
of war in terms of battleships, bullets, and 
bayonets, and the war of diplomacy leaves them 
complacently unaffected. It is only when the 
cannon booms that they realise war is going 
on ; and, even though the first to fire be a 
long-sufiering victim who has been forced to 
do so in self-defence, woe be unto it when 
the preachers of the Peace Society join the 
enemy. But some day perhaps even the pacifists 
will realise that Italy is fighting not only to put 
an end to an intolerable persecution, but also for 



78 Tripoli and Young Italy 

her very existence as a nation and as a Power 
to be respected. The Socialist Labriola, in 
rebuking the German Socialists for their un- 
reasoned condemnation of Italy, wrote : " My 
German friends who in this matter talk about 
Imperialistic capitalism hungry for prey do not 
understand that we are engaged in a life and 
death struggle for our right to the Mediterranean ; 
that we are not to be driven out of our own sea ; 
and that we are really combating Mammon, 
whose Fatherland is a bag of scudi." There 
rarely has been a war in which " capitalism " 
played so small a part, in which the overwhelming, 
urgent reason was so purely political. 

*' Historical fatality " was the way the Prime 
Minister, Giolitti, expressed it when he spoke at 
the Turin Exhibition two or three days after the 
outbreak of hostilities. It is a remarkable thing, 
by the way, that there has been very little 
public reference to the war made by responsible 
Ministers. There has been nothing said by 
them even to explain or to justify to outsiders 
the position taken up by Italy. Following the 
example of Giolitti, there has only been a 
brief and dignified statement of the political and 
economic necessity for the expedition, that there 
can be no compromise, and that any drawing 



The Political Necessity 79 

back or failure to take this opportunity would be 
to stultify her nationality. The Prime Minister's 
brief statement was that *' foreign policy cannot, 
like home policy, depend entirely upon the will of 
the Government and Parliament, but of absolute 
necessity must take into account events and situa- 
tions which it is not in our power to modify, or 
even, sometimes, to accelerate or retard. There 
are facts which take the shape of fatality from 
which a nation cannot escape without irreparably 
compromising its future. In such moments it is 
the duty of the Government to assume every 
responsibility, since the least hesitation or delay 
may mean the beginning of political decadence, 
fraught with consequences that the nation may be 
left to deplore for long years, even for centuries. 
The Ministry acknowledges the responsibility it 
has incurred in engaging the country in this 
struggle, but it faces that responsibility with 
equanimity, because it is convinced that, in view 
of the persistent and systematic hostility which 
has for years hindered our economic activity in 
Tripolitania, and in view of the constant provoca- 
tions offered by the Turkish Government, any 
hesitation or delay would have compromised both 
the honour of the country and its political and 
economic position." 



8o Tripoli and Young Italy 

There are young enthusiasts in Italy who are 
laying the flattering unction to their souls that it 
is their recent agitation of the dry bones of Italian 
foreign politics that has brought about what is 
termed Italy's salvation ; but the Tripoli problem 
is really very much older in years than many of 
these ardent patriots. While it is true that the 
ups and downs of politics have militated against a 
continuity of foreign policy, yet the tradition of 
Italy's rights to Tripoli has been handed down 
from one Cabinet to another. And, indeed, who 
has better rights to North Africa than the country 
which stretches her whole length into the Mediter- 
ranean and is within a hundred miles of the North 
African littoral ? Her soldiers discovered her 
title-deeds to Tripoli the other day at Ain-Zara 
when, in hastily digging their trenches, they laid 
bare the most beautiful mosaics, works of their 
Roman forbears under whom that country flourished 
like a beautiful garden. This discovery had a 
profound effect upon the Italian troops. " Viva 
Roma Immortale ! " they cried ; their unbounded 
joy, the real artistic sense they displayed, and 
the affectionate care with which they excavated 
and then decorated the place with palisades and 
palm leaves, was something moving to those for- 
tunate enough to be present. It was truly a case of 



The Political Necessity 81 

Italy coming into her own, of the Young Italians, 
now of age, coming out to redeem the family estates. 
•• North Africa will return to Italy." These 
words were spoken by no other than Mazzini 
long before Italy became a united and indepen- 
dent nation. "It has been ours once, and it 
must be ours again," he said. Bismarck spoke 
of " the Mediterranean, that wonderful inter- 
continental harbour of Europe, Asia, and Africa, 
that channel between the Atlantic and the Pacific, 
that basin which is surrounded by the fairest 
countries in the world," and said that Italy 
and France could never become allies, because 
the Mediterranean was an " indivisible heri- 
tage." "It belongs undoubtedly to Italy, whose 
Mediterranean shores are twelve times as 
extensive as are the Mediterranean shores of 
France." Bismarck had years before also 
written to Mazzini that the rule of the Medi- 
terranean must be the constant idea of Italy. 
Of course we now know what Bismarck's little 
game was. It suited his policy to play off Italy 
against France, and at the slightest sign of a 
rapprocJiement between the two countries he had 
only to expatiate on the beauties of the Medi- 
terranean to set them by the ears again. As 
subsequent events showed, he had no more use 
6 



82 Tripoli and Young Italy 

for Italy than to make of her a catspaw ; and 
that is about the only role Italy has played in 
foreign politics up till now, not only in the service 
of Germany, but of other countries as well. The 
Crispi letters, just published, are very illuminating 
on this point. But in those days Bismarck had 
to keep his eye upon Austria as well, and when 
Crispi was his guest he said that " if Austria 
takes Bosnia, Italy should take Albania or some 
other Turkish territory on the Adriatic." Thus, 
as the Turks complained, it is obvious that the 
spoliation of their empire was agreed upon long 
ago by the concert of Europe. 

The Crispi letters throw considerable light on 
the Tripoli question. As early as 1877 Lord Derby 
gave every encouragement to Italy's claim to Tripoli. 
He urged her to occupy Tripoli straightway. In 
his opinion this was absolutely essential in order 
to safeguard the common interests of Britain and 
Italy in the Mediterranean. France obtained carte 
blanche in Tunisia, very much to Italy's dismay ; 
and Crispi, although not very enthusiastically 
supported at home, became very active to secure 
compensation. In fulfilment of a promise made 
by Lord Salisbury, Tripolitania was the subject 
of " conversations " at the Congress of Berlin, 
and again British sympathy was given and Italy's 



The Political Necessity 83 

rights acknowledged ; but the only definite out- 
come was that France became more firmly 
ensconced in Tunis, and Italy got nothing. 
Crispi, while in London in 1882, wrote home to 
his Minister : " England needs a military ally in 
Egypt, and she would be glad if that ally were 
Italy. If Italy refuses, England will make some 
concessions to France, and then will happen 
what I wrote to you yesterday — France, con- 
solidated in Tunis, will ask permission to take 
Tripoli. The Mediterranean will be closed to us." 
He felt that by France's energetic action Italy 
had been robbed of Tunis, which lies within a 
hundred miles of her coast; was established by 
Italians, and looked upon as a natural colony for 
Italy. Crispi, however, was bound to accept \k\^fait 
accompli, and admit that the error he attributed to 
the weakness of Cairoli and the Italian Government 
could not be repaired ; but he became seriously 
alarmed over Tripolitania, when France, without 
any opposition, was allowed to occupy Biserta, 
and to establish an arsenal and a fleet there. 
He tried to make the British Government under- 
stand that unless opposition were offered by the 
Allied Powers to France, she would also occupy 
Tripolitania. " We wish to proceed in harmony 
with the friendly Cabinets," he wrote," but we are 



84 Tripoli and Young Italy 

resolved to use every means in our power to 
prevent Italy from being overwhelmed." He 
was most urgent, in a letter to Lord Salisbury, 
that, "if we had Tripoli, Biserta would cease to 
be a menace both to Italy and to Great Britain." 

In reply to this, Crispi received a telegram 
from the Italian charge daffauxs in London to 
this effect : " Your Excellency's letter has pro- 
duced a profound impression upon Lord Salisbury. 
His Lordship will shortly reply to you in writing, 
but for the present he has charged me to telegraph 
you that he is convinced that it is absolutely 
essential that, the day on which the status quo in 
the Mediterranean is altered in the smallest particu- 
lar, Tripolitania should be occupied by Italy. The 
Italian occupation must be effected independently 
of events in Egypt, that is to say, whether Egypt 
remains in British hands or in the hands of the 
Sultan. This occupation is required by European 
interests to hinder the Mediterranean from be- 
coming a French lake. The only question to be 
examined is whether this is the opportune 
moment." Salisbury's counsel was " Wait ! " 
And he added that the Italian Government 
would some day most surely get possession of 
Tripolitania, but " the hunter, in order to shoot 
a stag, must wait until he gets within range, 



f 



The Political Necessity 85 

so that if it be only wounded, it does not 
escape him." 

It will be seen that from England Crispi got 
a great deal of sympathy, but precious little 
promise of tangible support ; and, as usual, Ger- 
many would have been only too delighted to see 
Italy check French expansion, but was not risking 
anything herself. Crispi kept steadily at work, 
however. He was sanguine that Tripolitania 
might become Italian without any opposition on 
the part of the Powers, who, all of them at 
different epochs, had recognised Italy's superior 
rights to those regions. He did not wish 
for political reasons to break with Turkey, but 
he was alive even to that contingency. In the 
meantime he prepared the ground by seeking to 
gain for Italy the sympathy and the support of 
the indigenous population of Tripolitania. With 
this purpose in view he sent out Cav. Grande as 
the Italian Consul-General. Grande worked very 
sagaciously to further the cause of his Minister. 
In a cipher telegram sent to Crispi, he said he had 
profited by the fact that Sid Hassuna Karamanli 
was in Tripoli at the behest of the Governor- 
General, and had taken the opportunity to have 
him spoken to by an intimate and mutual friend. 
" Sid Hassuna showed himself disposed to assist 



86 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the Italian occupation, as he is convinced that 
if we do not, others will occupy Tripolitania. 
He said he could dispose of all the forces of the 
mountain population, as he enjoyed their sym- 
pathy. In order to prepare the ground, time 
and money are needed, not for himself, but for 
the sheiks. He would accept a form of govern- 
ment like that of Tunis. This, he said, would 
silence the opposition of the Arabs and pacify 
the country. He did not disguise the fact that 
there would be a resistance on the part of the 
Turks. However, not being seconded by the 
Arabs, they would cede to the Italian forces. 
He begs that we should exercise the greatest 
prudence, because he is watched by the Governor- 
General. He says the country is weary of 
Turkish occupation. Karamanli showed that he 
understood the political situation of Africa, and 
how to take advantage of the favourable occasion." 
The editor of these letters, Signor T. Pala- 
menghi-Crispi, remarks that, sure of the adhesion 
of the greater part of England, of Germany, and 
of Austria in the matter of the Italian occupation 
of Tripoli, Crispi could easily have gained also 
the consent of France on the basis of the de- 
fence of Italian interests in Tunis until an under- 
standing had been arrived at. As to Turkey, 



The Political Necessity 87 

under the old regime the negotiations would have 
been carried through without any difficulty. The 
Sultan was an astute politician, and was alive to 
his responsibility, and the precarious condition of 
his empire. Accordingly, he would have adapted 
himself to the inevitable, comforting himself 
with other compensations. But in January 1891 
Crispi went out of office, and his policy was 
pigeon-holed. 

The weakness of which Crispi complained in 
his country's foreign policy was responsible for 
Italy's failure to join hands with Great Britain 
when she intervened in Egypt in 1882. Not- 
withstanding that she had been browbeaten into 
the Triple Alliance by Bismarck, she was still 
afraid to risk any serious outburst on the part 
of France, who on the other hand had not the 
slightest compunction in pushing forward in 
North Africa at the expense of Italy's hoped-for 
inheritance there. This naturally resulted in a 
reaction of public opinion in Italy, and her rela- 
tions with France were not improved, of course, 
by the tariff war between the two countries. So 
that there was more of a spirit of revenge, or a 
desire to snatch compensation, rather than anysense 
of wisdom, displayed in the Italian Government's 
decision to occupy Massowah and the surrounding 



88 Tripoli and Young Italy 

territories on the Red Sea. This proved to 
be a most unfortunate enterprise, and ended in 
the disaster at Adowa. Again Italy suffered for 
her wilhngness to play the part of catspaw. 
Writing in 1901, Messrs. Thomas Okey and 
Bolton King declared that " for thirty years 
past, it has been the policy of the English Govern- 
ment to use Italy for its own purposes, and our 
recent attitude in particular has, in spite of the 
Alliance, left a good deal of soreness. The 
Italians reproach us that we pushed them into 
the African fiasco, that we gave them little thanks 
for holding Kassala to facilitate our advance up 
the Nile ; they complain that the Anglo-French 
Agreement on the North African Hinterland has 
bartered away their dormant claims to Tripoli, 
which would be valueless without the trade routes 
to the interior." 

Great was the bitterness over Adowa, and Italy 
appeared to have definitely decided that she was 
not fitted to be a colonising Power. She was 
painfully aware of her fallen prestige, and her 
excessive conscientiousness caused her to accept 
as well deserved all the contempt which other 
countries did not trouble to conceal. But instead 
of reverting to the old ways, in which duties 
to the nation were lost sight of in the petty 



The Political Necessity 89 

squabbles and intrigues of party politics, she set 
herself to carry out a vigorous house-cleaning. 
Not only were substantial measures of social reform 
enacted, but she was also able to pull her finances 
out of the quagmire into which they had sunk, and 
to re-establish her national credit in a way that 
astonished the world. It has been, and is still, 
the fashion to abuse the Government for having 
listened too much to the Socialists, and having 
placated them by giving their whole attention to 
internal affairs at the cost of foreign affairs. This 
is flattering the Socialists by ascribing to them an 
influence which they themselves hardly dared to 
believe they possessed. Yet there is no doubt 
that but for the steady, unobtrusive work done 
at home Tripoli certainly would not have been 
Italian to-day, and, in view of the way in which 
the other Powers are on the prowl in the Mediter- 
ranean, would probably never have been Italian 
at all. It is easy to shout for war, but, without 
the financial resources, it is a waste of breath. 
This was forgotten by many zealous and im- 
patient Italians, but there is now a growing 
recognition of the services of the men whose 
genius provided the sinews of war. 

The economic factor was at work in another 
way. A country like Italy, which possessed a, 



90 Tripoli and Young Italy 

most prolific population, and a large part of which 
was ill-suited for agriculture, as it lacked the 
more important minerals which are the first 
essentials of industrial development, was bound 
to feel keenly the necessity for expansion. The 
hemorrhage of emigration was inevitable, and 
the torrent could not be stopped. In 1909 
alone, no less than 625,637 Italian people left 
the homeland on a quest for the work which 
means bread. As Giustiano Rossi wrote some 
time ago, " Leaving aside the political and 
commercial considerations which in themselves are 
sufficient to counsel colonial expansion if we do 
not wish to be closed in an iron ring, human 
considerations alone impose upon those of us who 
cannot procure a certain livelihood in the Father- 
land, the duty of finding it abroad. Italy is 
too small to hold her sons. It is therefore 
necessary to find a regular outlet for this exuber- 
ance, if we wish to avoid the congestion which 
socially resolves itself into violent convulsions. 
Our emigrants are exploited in all foreign lands, 
while the emigrants of other nations are sent out 
to exploit their own colonies." 

Tripoli was quite a different enterprise from 
Italy's previous attempts at colonising. Tunis 
was gone for ever, but the contiguous coasts of 



The Political Necessity 91 

Tripoli and Cyrenaica offered an outlet for Italy's 
energies, and the problem of the " Mezzogiorno" 
would be in a fair way towards solution with the 
Southern Italians going to a climate and vege- 
tation similar to their own. The caravan trade 
from the Hinterland was possibly gone beyond 
recall, sucked away into Tunis and Egypt ; still 
there was the country left, with all its possi- 
bilities for founding a fairly prosperous agricultural 
and cattle-raising colony, and thereby relieving 
the pressure of population in the homeland. As 
Labriola declared, " The national instinct which, 
I think with reason, was opposed to the unneces- 
sary Abyssinian enterprise, has, on the contrary, 
applauded the Tripoli initiative, because it saw in 
it the realisation of a definite ethnical exigency." 
And so Italy waited patiently, with a clear under- 
standing with France and England, and her claims 
duly registered and acknowledged, perfectly 
satisfied to pursue her policy of peaceful pene- 
tration and to advance her legitimate economic 
interests until the day when the inevitable dis- 
integration of the Ottoman Empire should cause 
Tripoli to fall like a ripe apple into her lap. 

The day arrived, however, sooner than Italy 
expected. The whole question of the Mediter- 
ranean and North Africa was thrown into the 



92 Tripoli and Young Italy 

melting-pot by Germany's precipitate despatch 
of the Panther to Agadir. And Italy very 
nearly lost her opportunity. She was not moved 
to strike at the moment she did, by any thought 
of compensating herself for being out of the 
Moroccan deal, but the Panther incident showed 
Germany's heavy-mailed fist in a very ugly light. 
This fact, coupled with that of Germany's 
growing influence at the Porte, and the granting 
of favours to Germans in Cyrenaica, lent colour 
to the report that an arrangement had been 
concluded for the Panther s successor at Agadir 
to go to Tobruk. Italy's "political necessity" 
was plain. However willing she might have 
been to continue parleying with Turkey over her 
grievances, she could not allow herself to be 
"jockeyed" out of Tripolitania by Germany. 
Whatever grounds there were for the talk 
about Germany going to Tobruk, Italy was 
justified in her decision to take no risks. Sir 
Harry Johnston says, in the Nineteenth Century : 
" I may as well be frank and say that I have 
met with not a few Germans influentially placed 
in the commercial and political world, who, in 
putting aside as impracticable an actual German 
protectorate over Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, 
have sought to satisfy a very legitimate longing 



The Political Necessity 93 

to found a vast German Empire in the unde- 
veloped regions of the world, by projecting such 
a dominion to commence with Tripoli on the 
North and to finish with German South-West 
Africa on the South," " For some months prior 
to the Italian expedition to Tripoli," writes the 
Vienna correspondent of the Times, " the German 
Foreign Office was credited with cherishing a plan 
for the creation of such German interests in 
Tripoli and Cyrenaica as would form a title to 
territorial 'compensations' whenever Italian claims 
to Tripoli should be realised. The promptness 
of Italian action precluded, however, the crea- 
tion of another Agadir in the South-Eastern 
Mediterranean." 

The intense irritation caused in Germany by 
Italy's drastic action was, under the circumstances, 
perfectly understandable. As Dr. Dillon said, 
in writing from Constantinople to the Con- 
temporary, " Germany was being hoist with her 
own petard, and she disliked it. She would 
gladly have leased or occupied Tobruk herself, 
if circumstances had been propitious. It was 
gall and wormwood to her to let Turkey be 
mutilated and humbled by Italy, whose aggression 
would damage the Triple Alliance in the estima- 
tion of the world and compromise each of these 



94 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
partners in the eyes of the Young Turks." It 
was quite natural that after her many good 
services to the Porte, in checking the French 
rectification of the Tunisian-Tripoli boundary, 
and after the Kaiser's proclamation from the 
housetops of his friendship for the Sultan, 
Germany should have expected some such quid 
pro quo as a coaling-station on the Tripoli coast. 
And not only had Italy brought disaster to her 
policy in the Mediterranean, but at a time when, 
as we now know, Germany was on the verge of 
war with France and England, here was one of 
her pledged allies going off to war on its own 
account, without regard as to whether Germany 
might need the loan of the Italian army herself. 

But the attitude of the British in this crisis, as 
exhibited in their Press, was greatly obfuscating 
to the Italians, who had understood that Great 
Britain was tacitly with them in their action. 
As we have seen from the Crispi correspon- 
dence, official Britain has been cognisant of 
Italy's claims on Tripolitania for the last thirty 
years, and has encouraged them. Yet when 
baited in the House of Commons, Sir Edward 
Grey gave no inkling that the British Govern- 
ment knew anything at all about the business, 
and gave somewhat frigid assurances of strict 



The Political Necessity 95 

neutrality. Events, however, showed that, of 
all the Powers, Britain was most keenly alive 
to the situation. It goes without saying that the 
Germans in Cyrenaica would have been a menace 
to the Suez and a disaster to British influence in 
the Mediterranean. And if the eyes of shrewd 
observers did not deceive them, Great Britain 
had herself taken pretty good precautions against 
such a contretemps. In fact, had not the 
Italian navy appeared off the Tripoli coast at the 
moment it did, it would possibly have been dis- 
covered that British boats had assumed the pro- 
tection of Cyrenaica. It is known that there 
was intense activity in the naval yard at Malta, 
and a rather dramatic incident also illustrated 
Britain's preparedness. During the night when 
the Italian men-of-war appeared off Tripoli, and 
were awaiting orders, there was an alarm given, 
and strange boats were reported travelling at 
great speed and without lights. One after another, 
black, low-lying craft swept along until six had 
gone by into the darkness. By wireless telegraphy 
a destroyer farther up the line was told ofif to 
intercept the strangers and report. The reply 
came in a few minutes that the mysterious craft 
were unmistakably British destroyers steaming 
full speed in the direction of Malta. This story 



96 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the writer gives for what it is worth, and just 
as he heard it from eye-witnesses with the ItaHan 
fleet. Naturally, the incident caused some per- 
turbation until it became clear that, once they 
had made sure that Italy was attending to her 
business all right, the British watch-dogs saw 
no further need for their services. But in view 
of all this, the hackneyed "bolt from the blue" 
so freely employed by the Press shows how 
really opaque is the ignorance of the British 
people concerning its own foreign affairs. 

As for France, her friendship was tested by 
Italy not so long ago, and found to ring true. 
A definite agreement was come to with France 
ten years ago which recognised Italian rights in 
Tripoli, and, the tariff" war having come to an 
end, there soon grew up a strong friendship 
between the two Latin countries. As Clemenceau 
said the other day, " Italy deliberately ranged 
herself on our side at the Algeciras Conference, 
and, as the first Power to adhere to the new 
Franco-German Agreement, she unquestionably 
acted in a spirit of friendship and goodwill. 
We have every inducement to return to a policy 
of friendship which is entirely to the advantage 
of both countries." '• Nobody in Europe " (to 
quote a characteristic utterance of the Temps, 



The Political Necessity 97 

the organ of the Foreign Office in Paris) " is un- 
aware of the aims of Italy in Tripoli. We are 
sufficiently well off in Northern Africa not to 
desire to extend ourselves at least on the East." 
Moreover, it is not for France, this organ said, 
to be zealous for the integrity of the Ottoman 
Empire. A kind of semi-official protector of the 
Sultan — meaning Emperor William — has for 
some years, according to the French paper again, 
appeared in international affairs. " He is an ally 
of Italy. He has not been and never will be an 
ally of ours. We shall not play his game against 
Italy any more than we have chosen to do against 
England, for Italy is our sister by blood, and has 
not a single interest irreconcilable with ours. 
We have neither fear nor hesitation in taking 
note of Italy's ambitions or in admitting them, 
and we take no umbrage at the thought of some 
day having Italians for neighbours in Africa." 
This seemingly inspired utterance in so influential 
a Paris paper caused some stir in Europe at the 
time, and it has never been repudiated as an 
expression of diplomatic policy. 

American opinion, being so far away and also so 

ill-informed, was of a very varied character. One 

prominent organ declared that Italy had not only 

been patient, but ignobly patient. " Italy is the 

7 



98 Tripoli and Young Italy 

instrument of justice and of judgment against the 
high-piled iniquities of the Turk. The hour has 
struck for the exit of this barbaric people from the 
continent of Christian civilisation." The New 
York Times remarked that " anybody can see that 
the procedures of Italy in Tripoli follow a host of 
historic precedents, and that they are merely the 
working out of destiny. The dying nations must 
yield as the living nations press forward." But 
not a few of the American journals joined in the 
cry about " naked pillage " and " brigandage " 
and the breaking of treaties, regardless of the 
fact that it is the bigger Powers and not Italy who 
are to blame for treaties being at a discount. 
To Mr. Roosevelt is attributed the candid 
confession that a treaty is not worth the paper it 
is written on, if either of the signatories wants 
to go to war ; and Bismarck brought dismay to 
the hearts of the pacifists by a similar pronounce- 
ment : " All contracts between great States 
cease to be unconditionally binding as soon as 
they are tested by the struggle for existence. 
No great nation will ever be induced to sacrifice 
its existence on the altar of fidelity." 

Italy is charged with the violation of the 
Treaty of Paris, 1856, which gauranteed the 
integrity of Turkey, and it would be " to laugh" 



The Political Necessity 99 

if this charge were not made in quarters entitled 
to respect. But it only requires a few moments' 
reflection to see that Articles 7 and 8 had already 
been rendered a dead letter by the action of one of 
the other signatories. Every signatory to that 
treaty had known for years of Italy's claims, and 
could have offered mediation, but even Turkey 
made no appeal to the treaty before the outbreak 
of the war. What outcry was there when Austria 
annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina and helped on 
the disintegration of Turkey ? It was then that 
the Treaty of Paris was rendered null and void, 
and to resurrect it against Italy now is really to 
trifle. The bullying attitude adopted by certain 
"men of peace " towards Italy would have been 
more a propos if it had been directed against 
Austria when she was busy annexing Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, but there was then no demand for 
the British fleet to go and teach the " brigands " 
a sharp lesson. 

" We must not be too preoccupied by the talk 
of taking away some territory from the Great 
Dying Man," wrote Giustiano Rossi. '* After all, 
the pieces that have been taken away from the 
Ottoman Empire are now many, and nevertheless 
Europe does not fall into convulsions. First Bul- 
garia was subtracted and liberated from Ottoman 



100 Tripoli and Young Italy 

servitude ; next Greece, and afterwards Roumania, 
Serbia, and Montenegro enlarged themselves at 
the cost of the Turkish Empire. England added 
to her crown the diadem of Cyprus. Austria took 
Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tunis, under a pre- 
text, was placed under the protectorate of France. 
Finally, Crete rebelled and was governed inde- 
pendently of Turkey by the mandate of the 
several European Powers. Crete in some years' 
time will be quietly annexed by Greece. Next 
will come the turn of Albania ; why not that of 
Macedonia? What share has Italy had to-day 
of this pulling to pieces of Turkey ? Nothing. 
And we shall have nothing if we wait until others 
give it to us. Let us therefore go to Tripoli." 

" Diplomaticus," in the course of his Fort- 
nightly dissection of Sir Edward Grey, joins 
the attack upon Italy, speaks of her " scandalous 
foray," and condemns her for her utter disregard 
of treaties. He says : " The sanctions of order 
and equity in international life are gone. All 
restraints of honour and good faith have dis- 
appeared, and the predatory instincts of the 
larger States only await their opportunity." 
That is exactly the opinion that Italy has been 
arriving at to her dismay, although it is generally 
conceded that she has been one of the most 



The Political Necessity loi 

enthusiastic supporters of treaties and arbitration. 
The discussion now going on as to whether it 
was France or Germany who upset the Medi- 
terranean status quo concerns her very little. 
The naked fact confronting her was that the 
status quo had been upset ; and that she must 
act accordingly. It is a truly formidable list, 
terrible to contemplate, that the Fortnightly 
welt-politik writer gives us of the treaties which 
have been violated, from Japan in Korea, 
America in the Panama, down to Morocco ; 
but one fails to understand why upon Italy's 
devoted head should be poured all the blame 
now that the significance of these things is at 
last being discovered. Every other nation 
appears to be guilty of burglary, except Italy, 
but when she takes the precaution to prevent 
some " predatory " Power from cracking another 
crib, she is accused of subverting all principles 
of international honour — surely a cowardly atti- 
tude to take up. 

It is with genuine respect for Sir Thomas 
Barclay's reputation in international law that 
one turns to his discussion of the problems of 
this war, because it purports to be an impartial 
examination of both sides of the case. But if 
Sir Thomas had been definitely "briefed" for 



102 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Turkey he could hardly have displayed a greater 
partiality ; to include a chapter by a Mussul- 
man full of feeling against Italy — intelligible, 
perhaps, as that feeling may be — is a peculiar 
way of disclaiming such partiality. His little 
homily, by the way, on how the French Parlia- 
ment always keeps a close watch on the conduct 
of its foreign affairs, and insists upon being 
kept au couranty reads strangely in view of the 
disclosure of the secret "carryings-on" of Cail- 
laux with Germany. 

The burden of Sir Thomas Barclay's case 
against Italy is that she ruthlessly tore up the 
Treaty of Paris, by which the integrity of the 
Ottoman Empire was guaranteed. It seems 
necessary to reiterate that Italy was fully justified 
in considering that the Treaty of Paris was abso- 
lutely torn to shreds by Austria's annexation of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina with the acquiescence of 
the European Powers. To deny that the annexa- 
tion of these ex-Turkish provinces had any bearing 
on particular political interests in the Mediter- 
ranean is really to trifle. It is quite true that in 
1856 the Powers guaranteed the integrity of the 
Ottoman Empire, and stated that they would 
"consider any act having the character of a 
violation thereof as a question of general interest" ; 



The Political Necessity 103 

but in 191 1 the Powers, by their strict attitude 
of neutrality, appear to have changed their minds, 
and to have very little compunction about the 
fate of the Ottoman Empire, at least outside of 
Europe. Thus, Italy has in these declarations of 
neutrality the tacit encouragement of the Powers, 
and it is the Powers and not Italy that the lovers 
of Turkey should attack with their big sticks 
and law-books. And then they will get the 
answer straight, that the presence of the Turkish 
Government in Europe is a curse, and that, but 
for their own petty jealousies, the Powers would 
have isolated the " Sick Man " long ago, for the 
sake of the health not only of the Macedonians, 
but of the whole continent as well. " When decay 
has proceeded for so long a period," says Mr. 
Bryce, " and is so plainly due to deep-seated 
maladies, there remains no hope that decay can 
be arrested." He talks of " facilitating, with as 
little strife and bloodshed as may be, that 
extinction of the Ottoman Empire which is 
plainly inevitable," and adds that " Britain. 
France, and Italy have no interest in a policy 
of delay in the breaking up of Turkey." 

The other Powers had led Italy to believe that 
the disintegration of Turkey was a consummation 
devoutly^ to be desired by the whole civilised 



104 Tripoli and Young Italy 

world. The forces of disintegration were already 
silently at work. Why then should Italy have 
been expected to show any compunction in ac- 
celerating this disintegration, especially when it 
was at the same time a matter of saving her own 
people from being plundered and shot and im- 
prisoned without cause, and of providing an 
opportunity and outlet for the enormous surplus 
energy of Young Italy? 

We can deplore with Sir Thomas that there 
is a tendency to have recourse to the soldier 
rather than to the lawyer, with the consequent 
consignment of the Hague Tribunal to the scrap- 
heap of unused, if not useless, machinery ; yet 
we must face the sinister but undeniable fact, that 
as things stand to-day, neither England, nor Ger- 
many, nor Russia, nor France would hesitate to 
tear up all the treaties in existence if they con- 
sidered their vital national interests threatened. 
To speak about the "peaceful solution of the 
Franco-German difficulty " as setting " an example 
to the world " how to avoid war, is to run risks 
of not being taken seriously. There would have 
been no peaceful solution had either of these 
countries found itself placed in the predicament 
Italy found herself in ; if, as was the case with 
Italy, they had serious cause to fear that their 



The Political Necessity 105 

very existence as a nation was being jeopardised. 
Nobody, by the way, appears to have considered 
the feelings of the Moors. 

Italy may be permitted to know best the 
dangers which beset her, and not all the clauses 
of all the Conventions of the Hague appeared 
strong enough to guard her against the danger 
which threatened her recently. In view of 
the " Pan "-this and " Pan "-thenDther Empire 
schemes now being pushed forward with a 
cynical disregard for the rights of weaker 
nationalities ; in view of what is taking place 
in Persia and in China, the blame for the 
bankruptcy of the Hague Tribunal should be 
laid at other doors than Italy's. Is it of no 
significance to Italy that her old and inveterate 
enemy is pushing towards Salonika ? Had the 
dismissal of General Conrad nothing to do with 
the anti-Italian campaign ? Was it for nought 
that Italy found it advisable to send her rawest 
recruits to Tripoli, and strengthen her garrison 
with her best troops on the Austrian frontier ? 
Could Italy afford to be blind to the unscrupulous 
methods adopted to drive Count Aehrenthal 
from office, because of his pro-Italian sympathies ? 
To discuss the Tripoli campaign as if it were 
an isolated incident, and having no connection 



io6 Tripoli and Young Italy 

with Italy's bigger problems, is to put oneself 
entirely out of court. 

The Tripoli expedition meant more to Italy 
than merely securing a colony in North Africa. 
But even if this had been her sole purpose, 
no one can deny that Italy has the best right of 
any to colonies in the Mediterranean, and this 
right was made an absolute necessity when other 
Powers took advantage of Italy's weakness or 
unwillingness, and set about colonising there with 
a barefaced unconcern for any one else. Italy 
had to assert herself or to go under. There 
are certain people who affect to ridicule the 
idea that Italy is threatened in any way, that 
there is any malprepense towards Italy in the 
big empire schemes of the other countries. But 
granting for the moment that that may be so, 
and that nobody has a direct quarrel with or 
definite design against Italy, yet the inevitable 
consequences of this big empire building will 
be to close up Italy and make her a prisoner 
in her own sea ; the " iron ring " about her 
will be contracted and forged afresh. Morals 
perhaps do not count for much in the present 
slicing up of the earth, but on what moral 
grounds is Italy to be excluded when the sharing 
out is being done ? The most approved practice 



The Political Necessity 107 

now is for one country to stake out a claim, and 
then for the other colonising Powers to demand 
compensation ; and bargains are thus struck. 
In order to bring about some sort of homogeneity 
in its colonies, one country usually offers to buy 
out the other Powers who have contiguous claims, 
and a substantial quid pro quo is given. But 
if a nation like Italy ventures to ask where she 
" comes in " regarding compensation, her action 
is treated as an outrageous piece of impertinence, 
and something to be put down with a firm hand. 
There is, however, an unmistakable change in 
tone in the criticism of Italy's action, since it 
has been discovered that Italy looks like " making 
Sfood." But this fact makes it still clearer that 
the other Powers treated Italy in the past with 
such scant courtesy, and ofttimes with ill-con- 
ceived contempt, simply because she possessed 
a weak army and a navy not worth its salt. 

Before Italy could set about her big task of 
defending her nationality it was necessary' first 
of all to regain her own self-respect, and then 
to force everybody else to respect her. This 
could never have been done had she allowed 
Germany or any other Power to take Tripolitania, 
after all the years that Italy's exclusive rights to it 
had been universally admitted. The Abyssinian 



io8 Tripoli and Young Italy 

disaster would have been but a small affair com- 
pared with the loss of prestige she would have 
suffered had she kept quiet when within a matter 
of perhaps a few hours she. would most probably 
have been forestalled. It is hardly necessary 
to say that the whole army has been smarting 
with shame for the disgrace of Adowa, and 
eager to strike a blow for Italy that would wipe 
out that disgrace ; and the nationalists were of 
course loud in their condemnation of the inactivity 
of foreign affairs, and extremely active in their 
efforts to rouse the nation to a sense of its 
responsibilities and dangers. But when the 
German Panther arrived off Morocco, and the 
subsequent "conversations" made it apparent 
that, despite treaties and alliances, the game of 
grab was to be carried on as fiercely as ever, 
it did not need the impatience of the army nor 
the preachings of the patriots to stir the country's 
blood and to acquire that force of public 
opinion which is essential to the success of every 
national undertaking. That other people were 
ignorant of what was taking place in Italy is due 
solely to the fact that they were too engrossed in 
their own selfish designs to be concerned about 
others ; but certainly the Italian Government 
had unmistakable proofs that it was backed up by 



The Political Necessity 109 

the will of the nation. The North and South 
forgot their differences ; the political parties sunk 
their quarrels ; and rich and poor were unanimous 
in their agreement that the hour had come for 
Italy to retrieve something of her ancient glory. 
Even a large number of the Socialists found that 
they were Italian first and Socialists afterwards. 
And when the army had gone to Tripoli and they 
saw that war was unavoidable, the other Socialists, 
who had tried to avert hostilities, declared with 
Salvamini that "it is now necessary, whatever 
sacrifice it costs, that the country' must come out 
of this enterprise with honour ; and whoever 
contributes even in the smallest part to render 
failure possible, or rather to render its success 
less secure, commits an atrocious crime against 
the Fatherland." And if foreigners wonder how 
all this came about, they have only to come to 
Italy, and learn something of Austrian diplomatic 
manoeuvring in the Balkans, of the pretty story of 
Albania, and of the Pan-Germanic question in 
general. Then they will realise how the nation- 
ality of Italy is being threatened, and how 
necessary it was for her to assert herself They 
will learn that Italy's difficulties are only just 
beginning, that the future is fraught with dangers 
that might well daunt the spirit of an older 



no Tripoli and Young Italy 

nation. They will learn too that Young Italy 
is preparing to meet the future calmly and 
efficiently, and with a self-confidence in which 
there is not a particle of conceit, for the times 
are too serious for swashbuckling and brag- 
gadocio. 

How far Italy has succeeded in her present 
object and guaranteed an outlet for her energies 
and expansion, it is too early to say. It is 
beyond dispute that she has broken the " iron 
ring " in such a manner that it will take a great 
deal of welding to mend it again. But the chief 
thing is that she has discovered herself. What 
has happened in Italy has been likened to a 
general resurrection, the waking of a nation, from 
a long paralytic torpor. " What shall be our 
answer to puritanical England, to pietistic Austria, 
to innocent Germany .-* " demands the Tribuna. 
•' Nothing, except that Italy has grown up, and, 
notwithstanding her friendships, is going to rely 
upon herself" Italy's prestige to-day is a 
hundred per cent, higher than it was in 
September. 



CHAPTER IV 
THE NEW COLONY 

Whoever comes too late to beautiful Libya, 
When the land is being divided up, 
I say he will bitterly rue it. 

From Herodotus. 

IT is safe to say that very few of the people 
who were in a breathless hurry to condemn 
Italy knew exactly where Tripoli was. Political 
geography is not a strong point with most people. 
There is some excuse for them, for Tripolitania 
had not yet been opened up to civilisation by 
Thomas Cook & Son. And as there had been 
no discovery of precious stones and metals, there 
were no cosmopolitan financiers urging war 
for the right to start gold and diamond mines. 
Very likely if there had been, Italy would have 
been left behind. In the public mind there was 
just a vague idea of half a dozen squalid over- 
grown villages on the sea-coast, with that great 
forbidding unknown, the Libyan Desert, lying 

behind. The classics spoke of Libya as a land 

III 



112 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
flowing with milk and honey ; but the men with 
money, who are generally the pioneers in colonisa- 
tion, are not as a rule distinguished for their 
classical erudition, and in any case milk and honey 
offer few temptations. One cannot rhapsodise 
in a prospectus about anything so prosaic. 

For reasons of their own, the Turks discouraged 
advertisement of Tripoli, and with their well-known 
methods successfully prevented any effective ex- 
ploration of the country. And so, except for one 
or two accounts of the voyages of several daring 
explorers, Tripolitania and its resources remain 
practically unknown. Tripolitania, or Libya, as 
the Italian Government has decided it shall be 
renamed, is the easternmost of the Barbary 
States of North Africa, and stretches from Tunis 
to the undefined Egyptian boundary, and extends 
in the south into the vaguely known Libyan 
Desert beyond Fezzan. Its area is roughly 
estimated at three times the size of Italy, which 
has 286,682 square kilometres, as compared with 
the approximate 1,051,000 of Tripolitania. 
" Eloquent figures," these were called, the writer 
remembers, by an enterprising Milanese shopman 
who posted them in a window, evidently a praise- 
worthy effort to get the people to "think 
Imperially." Tunisia has 167,400, Algeria 



i 



The New Colony 113 

890,ocx), and Morocco 439,240 square kilometres. 
All that is known of the mountainous region is 
indicated on the map. 

The history of the new colony is about as 
vague as its topography. We get as far back 
as the Phoenicians, from whom it was wrested by 
the rulers of Barca (Cyrenaica), who in turn had 
to give it up to the Carthaginians, and they 
to the Romans. About the third century a.d., 
because of its three cities Oea, Sabrata, and 
Leptis, the Romans gave it the name of Regio 
Tripolitana. It was probably raised to the 
rank of a separate province by Septimus Severus, 
who was a native of Leptis. Like the rest of 
North Africa it was overrun by the Arabs in 
the eighth century. 

About Cyrenaica or Barca, a little more is 
known, because of the vast ruins existing to-day, 
which tell of the glories of its past civilisation. 
Cyrene, its capital, was founded in 631 B.C., by a 
colony of Spartans under Battus, whose dynasty 
ruled for nearly two centuries. The story as told 
by Herodotus is that Battus had an impediment in 
his speech, and on applying to the Oracle at Delphi 
for a cure, was directed to lead a colony to Libya. 
He returned after two years, and complained 
that the colony had met with disappointment. 
8 



114 Tripoli and Young Italy 

As a matter of fact they had been all the time on 
the island of Platea, when they thought they had 
reached Libya. Delphi was indignant and 
answered : "If you, who have never visited the 
cattle-breeding Libya, know it better than I who 
have, I greatly admire your cleverness." He 
was in a great huff about it, and forced the colony 
to return. This time they found the right place. 

During its prosperity Cyrene traded considerably 
with Greece and Egypt, and to a less extent with 
Carthage. Among the great men who came from 
Cyrene were Aristippus and other philosophers, 
the poet Callimachus,the astronomer Eratosthenes, 
and the Christian rhetorician and bishop Synesius. 
The cities Teuchira, Hesperis (Bengasi), Cyrene, 
Appolonia, and Barca constituted the original 
Libyan Pentapolis. So early as the time of 
Cyrus, Barca became a separate state, and made 
itself a nuisance to its neighbour Cyrene ; but 
within a century it sank and became subject to 
Egypt. Moreover, the ruins attest that the 
Assyrians as well as the Egyptians had been here, 
the temples, sculptures, and bas-reliefs showing 
unmistakable signs of invasion from the East. At 
Ghirza, for example, there are some beautiful 
bas-reliefs depicting domestic life of the fourth 
and fifth centuries before the Christian era. 



The New Colony 115 

Women appear nursing their babies or cooking 
the dinner, bakers putting bread into the ovens, 
and vintners gathering grapes ; the latter being 
proof positive that, unlike their Mussulman suc- 
cessors, the inhabitants of Cyrenaica at that time 
were not teetotalers. 

Thus, in this desolate region, where hardly a blade 
of grass is now visible, with its enormous accumula- 
tion of stones, the haunts of wild cats, there must 
hav-e been sufficient wine and cereals to supply 
the demands of inhabitants. The fertility of Ghirza 
must have been largely responsible for Cyrenaica 
earning the name of " Rome's granary." Accord- 
ing to Horace, in vaunting a man's riches, it was 
customary to speak of him as having "granaries 
in Libya." Pindar, in one of his Odes, speaks 
of Cyrenaica as a land " rich in flocks, yea 
richest of all lands in the fruits of the field " ; and 
Herodotus wrote of this Eden, that for eight 
months on end the inhabitants did nothing but 
harvest. The Romans appear to have taken 
possession nearly a century before Christ, and as 
they were not only soldiers, but husbandmen too, 
they rapidly improved the fertility of the land, con- 
structed enormous aqueducts, and dug wells, the 
remains of which testify to this day to the fitness 
of the Romans as colonists. The V^andals, under 



ii6 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Genseric, swept along the coast in the year 439, 
and laid waste everything ; and following them 
came the Berbers, who in their turn were driven 
out by the Arabs in 647. 

Then follow periods of inexplicable silence in 
the history of the country, broken occasionally 
by fantastic tales of the misdeeds of the Tripoli 
pirates committed upon European ships. The 
pirates were possessed of light, swift-sailing craft 
and fast rowing-boats to which the more un- 
wieldy ;merchant ships of the Mediterranean fell 
an easy prey. Once aboard, the pirates cut and 
thrust until all the crew was killed, and the young 
women were taken captive. The mediaeval 
chronicles, and especially those of Sicily with its 
adjacent coast, tell of these rapes of European 
women by the Tripoli pirates. There were many 
expeditions formed to castigate the Arabs, but 
they had very little preventive effect. 

The Barbary pirates waged unceasing war, and 
they were a terror to all maritime Christianity. 
The Mussulman dominion was only twice briefly 
interrupted, the King of Sicily taking and hold- 
ing possession of Tripoli from 1146 to 1158; 
while the Spaniards, under Ferdinand the Catholic, 
occupied the place in 15 10. It was the Spaniards 
who built the huge castle at Tripoli in which the 



The New Colony 117 

Governor-General Caneva and his staff at present 
have their headquarters. In 1523 Tripoli was 
handed over to the Knights of St. John who had 
lately been expelled by the Turks from their 
stronghold in the Island of Rhodes. 

The Turkish dominion in Tripoli commenced 
in 1 55 1, but it was merely nominal, the Arabs 
adhering to their own mode of living, and refus- 
ing to adopt the usages of the Turks. But it 
should not be forgotten that although a Turkish 
Admiral took possession, it was the Sicilian 
renegade, Scipione Cicala, who made the Turkish 
invasion possible, because he knew how to deal 
with the Mussulman corsairs. However, the 
various Beys who ruled appear to have dis- 
regarded any claims that Constantinople might 
have put forward : they paid no tribute, and went 
their wicked ways quite independently. Far from 
ceasing, the depredations of the pirates increased, 
and so dangerous did they render the Mediterranean 
that one or other of the European countries was 
always threatening war. In 1655 and in 1675 
the British sent ships to chase the pirates. In 
1685 the French bombarded Tripoli until the Bey 
gave guarantees to punish the marauders. The 
merchants of Venice, in 1764, concluded a treaty 
with the Governors of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, 



ii8 Tripoli and Young Italy 

and Tripoli, for the immunity of their ships from 
piracy ; but the Bey of Tripoli, like so many 
of^ his latter-day successors, did not keep his 
word. So one fine morning he discovered that 
Tripoli was threatened by a Venetian naval 
squadron, which gave him a sharp ultimatum. 
The Bey tried " conversations," but the temper 
of the Venetians brooked no delay ; and the Bey 
had to return the goods and ships confiscated, 
and pay a big indemnity for those he could not 
return. Among the ships he delivered up in his 
haste, the Bey included one which had been 
stolen from the Greeks. 

To this day there has never been any love lost 
between the Turks and the Arabs, and in 17 14 
the Arabs effected a coup which freed them of 
the Turkish dominion for over a century. The 
Arab chief, Ahmad Karamanli, who commanded 
the cavalry regiment in Tripoli, found means 
of withdrawing the Ottoman garrison from the 
city. He then invited the officers and authorities, 
to the number of three hundred, to a feast. They 
came all unsuspecting, and Karamanli and his 
men just quietly despatched them. Constitut- 
ing himself Bey, Karamanli sent magnificent 
presents to Constantinople to mollify the Sultan, 
who, nothing loath, accepted them, and pardoned 



The New Colony 119 

the misdeeds of the new Governor. The Kara- 
manli family ruled until 1835, when the Turks, 
encouraged by the fact that there was internicine 
strife among the Arabs, came on the scene again 
with a small fleet. The ruling Karamanli, 
AH Pasha, forgetting the history of his family, 
accepted an invitation to lunch aboard a Turkish 
man-of-war, and he and his suite were never seen 
again. They were quietly disposed of by the 
Turks, who sacked Tripoli, took possession of 
it again, and have kept possession, despite sundry 
revolutions, until the recent Italian bombardment. 
The city of Tripoli, or, as it was called by 
the mediaeval Arabs, " the white city," viewed 
by the visitor from the deck of the incoming 
steamer, seems a veritable gem glistening in the 
sunlight, its line of dazzling white roofs being 
broken here and there by graceful minarets, which, 
because of the form of religion and civilisation 
for which they stand, fire the imagination of the 
beholder. Perhaps this first charm to the new- 
comer is unconsciously coloured by a feeling of 
gratefulness that a particularly trying sea-trip is 
ended ; but in any case the roseate hue gives 
place to something very ordinary on a closer 
acquaintance with the town. However, the sub- 
sequent feeling of repulsion against the labyrinth 



120 Tripoli and Young Italy 

of narrow, squalid, formless alleys, dignified by 
the name of streets, in its turn quickly gives way 
to curiosity. The traveller's eye is arrested by a 
thousand and one things of interest, as he threads 
his way in pursuit of the Arab porter — bearing a 
striking resemblance to John the Baptist — who, 
having slung the traveller's portmanteau on his 
back, with a rope passed round his forehead, 
leads the way to the Hotel Minerva. Loaded 
donkeys, mules, and camels, being whacked and 
urged and cursed by men black, brown, and 
white, intermingle with the jostling crowd com- 
posed of Arabs, stately and richly apparelled, 
owners of many camels and dates ; or of brother 
tribesmen, meagre and fly-blown, with hardly 
enough dirt-eaten barracani to cover their naked- 
ness ; fez-topped Israelites, whose white habili- 
ments are encompassed by European top-coats ; 
big-boned black Bedouins ; stolid Turks in wide 
pantaloons ; swarthy Fezzans and negroes ; Euro- 
pean-clothed Maltese and Italians ; a variety of 
veiled forms ; and a host of youngsters of all 
colours and sizes, the liveliest little imps imagin- 
able, who get in everybody's way, and for a 
marvel never seem to get hurt. The picturesque 
barracan — also evidence of early Roman occu- 
pation, for it is the old Roman toga — is worn 



The New Colony 121 

universally. In no other North African town, 
travellers assert, can there be seen such an 
interesting conglomeration of human beings, who, 
owing to the comparative isolation of Tripoli 
from the methods and manners of European 
civilisation, go about the place and live their 
lives as their forbears have done for many- 
centuries. The population is 40,000, which the 
environs in normal times bring up to 60,000. 
Of these, 6,000 are Israelites and 4,000 Christians, 
most of whom are Maltese and Italian. 

Prior to the advent of the Italian army, whose 
medical department set to work to thoroughly 
cleanse and disinfect the place, and employed a 
whole host of unemployed Arabs and negroes to 
clean out all the dirty nooks and corners, the 
streets were evil-smelling, abominably dirty, and 
reeking with disease ; in fact, the very walls 
emitted pungent odours, which discouraged the 
curious from making too close an investigation 
of the native quarters. Naturally, despite the 
beautiful climate and the health-giving ozone, 
infectious disease was rampant. Typhus carried 
off many victims, and on entering the town the 
Italians were faced with the awful problem of a 
cholera epidemic. In passing, the writer is com- 
pelled to pay'.tribute to the magnificent work done 



122 Tripoli and Young Italy 

by the Italian medical and sanitary corps. This 
has been one of the chief triumphs of the 
campaign. Notwithstanding the appalling over- 
crowding of poor and miserably dirty natives, 
necessitated by the clearing of the oasis, the 
Italian doctors tackled their task with enthusiasm, 
and in less than two months had ended the typhus 
and practically stamped out the cholera. The 
sick and ill-nourished children were fertile ground 
for infectious disease, but the Italians took these 
black and brown bairns, bathed and fed them, 
and tended them as lovingly as if they had 
been their own bambini. Sick and emaciated 
Arabs, who perhaps had never had a bath in 
their lives, were scrubbed as clean as a new pin. 
At first their dismayed faces suggested that they 
feared some horrible death was being prepared for 
them, but when after their ablutions they were 
presented with brand new baccarani, their mixture 
of joy and incredulity was laughable to behold. 
Contrary to repeated Turkish denials, it has been 
discovered that a little malaria exists in Tripoli, and 
Italian specialists have set to work immediately on 
that particular subject. We must apologise for this 
digression, but when most of the glory goes to the 
fighters with rifle and cannon, it should not be for- 
gotten that to the medical and sanitary administra^ 



The New Colony 123 

tion is due in great part not only the wonderful 
health of the troops, but the fact that Tripoli has 
been made into something like a new city. 

There are three fairly respectable streets, and 
the nuclei of several more, not to mention the 
possibilities of a fine esplanade on the sea-front ; 
but the housing, especially of the indigenous people, 
is of a very inferior character. Indeed, the 
dwellings consist for the most part of one-storied 
hovels, built of a compound of mud, stone, and 
sand, often with no other roof but palm-leaf 
matting. These houses frequently have apart- 
ments below ground, where the temperature is 
more equable, and not subject to the violent 
changes between night and day. One room is 
given over to the women, who, being inferior 
creatures, have to keep out of the men's apart- 
ments. These erections make no attempt to 
conform to a street line. Of course, these are 
the abodes of the poor. There are houses of a 
more ambitious character, both among the Arabs 
and the Israelites. They are mostly built with 
an inner court open to the sky, around which 
court runs a portico with apartments. As to the 
internal economy of these rooms little is known, 
as no Mussulman allows a Christian to see his 
private apartment. No window looks out on 



124 Tripoli and Young Italy 

to the street, because it is not considered "proper" 
for the women-folk to see or to be seen. As in 
Egypt, however, there are some houses with 
very close lattice-work windows, which allow the 
inhabitants to see into the street and yet not 
to be seen. Bearing in mind the strict injunc- 
tions given to the Italian soldiers not to offend 
Arabs by staring at their women, it was often 
amusing to watch the features of some Italian 
" Tommy " set rigidly, with eyes averted, as 
a veiled figure passed his line of vision. Poets 
have expatiated upon the Italian's proverbial sus- 
ceptibilities where the fair sex is concerned. But 
stern military duty is evidently the stronger. Of 
course, nothing of the Arab lady can be seen, 
except perhaps one eye, which none the less 
appears to have a wide and effective range. 

The mosques and minarets have no particularly 
attractive features. The castle is of a huge 
" four-square " character, and looks imposing 
from the sea ; there are several factory-like 
erections for dealing with esparto grass, pressing 
olives, and milling corn ; but otherwise there 
are no structures of an impressive type. The 
ruin of a Roman arch of Marcus Aurelius is 
lost in a labyrinth of lanes and is used as a 
cabaret and "cheap-jack" store. The Arabs 



The New Colony 125 

say that for many generations there has been 
a legend among them that this arch would be 
restored at the end of the Ottoman dominion : 
and they are very much impressed now that the 
Italian Government has ordered a complete 
clearance of the rubbishy buildings which have 
been piled inside and outside of it. A piazza 
is to be formed round it, and the Government 
has given a commendable order that no archaeo- 
logical remains are to be taken out of the 
country. 

Some of the villas of Maltese and European 
residents have modest pretensions, and there 
are springing up several small hotels of good 
appearance. The Banco di Roma perhaps has 
the finest premises, which, of course, is not 
saying much. The shops are of the usual small 
" two-by-four" type common to the East, where 
the merchant sits among his merchandise. It 
is absorbingly interesting to saunter along and 
watch the various craftsmen at work, tailors, 
bakers, cobblers, blacksmiths, saddlers, jewellers, 
iron-workers, etc., whose handicraft, though rough, 
is none the less often of a really artistic 
character. The big hand-looms of the weavers 
are curious but efficient constructions. But not 
the least interesting to the visitor is the market 



126 Tripoli and Young Italy 

outside the walls, where, amid a babel of tongues 
and dialects, one may bid for anything from 
a camel to a button. Just outside the wall 
also is the encampment of the poor Bedouins, 
Arabs, and Fezzans — a heap of huts composed 
of sticks, palm-leaves, and all the dirty rags and 
refuse of the city. It is a menace to the health 
of the whole population, despite the sanitary 
precautions enforced upon the inhabitants by the 
Italians, and it is a veritable hot-bed of vice. 
Among this population a terrible ophthalmic 
disease, bred of dirt and accentuated by the fine 
wind-borne sand and by the plague of flies, is 
rife and causes blindness. 

The Turkish authorities presumably thought 
it not worth while to provide anything in the 
way of hospital accommodation. What they did 
provide was practically no good ; but the Italians 
and French some time ago established hospitals 
which, though inadequate, were of great service. 
As to schools, those for which the late Govern- 
ment was responsible were hardly worthy of the 
name. There was a small school for the sons of 
the richer Arabs, which gave them an elementary 
preparation for the military profession, after 
which they went to Constantinople. The 
Italians long ago, despite Turkish obstruction. 



The New Colony 127 

established elementary schools for boys and girls, 
and a kindergarten, all directly supported by the 
Italian Government, who also subsidised schools 
kept by Franciscan brothers and sisters. The 
Jews also have a school of their own, and in 
preference to Turkish, many of their children, 
as well as Arab children, have learned to speak 
Italian. The teaching of Arabic has now been 
undertaken in the Italian schools, which decision 
has given great satisfaction to the Arabs, for up to 
now the education of their children has consisted 
mainly in the learning of verses from the Koran. 
For some time before the Italian occupation there 
were three post offices — Italian, French, and 
Turkish — and the fact that the Italian office 
was getting all the business, even from the 
natives, was also scored up by the Turks against 
the Italians. 

There was a municipal administration of sorts, 
the council consisting of persons either nomi- 
nated or approved by the Governor. It had 
charge of the public health, and of the making 
of new streets, aqueducts, bridges, etc., but, as is 
not unknown in municipalities of countries making 
more pretension to civilisation, jobbery was 
rampant, and the councillors were accused of 
making improvements only to their own property 



128 Tripoli and Young Italy 

and its vicinity, and of managing not to sanction 
any new construction for which they themselves 
were not the contractors. And, as in less 
benighted lands, the potency of a bribe was 
thoroughly well understood in the public affairs 
of Tripoli. 

Under such corrupt conditions it was inevitable 
that the various Consulates should gradually 
become a power in the land. With no hope 
of justice or redress from the rotten govern- 
mental administration, the indigenous inhabitants 
turned for advice and help to the institutions 
representative of foreign Powers : — this appears 
to be the usual thing in Turkish countries. 
The British Consulate, for instance, has its stair- 
case and ante-rooms crowded almost daily by 
people with grievances or needing advice. There 
is a venerable and picturesque Mohammedan there, 
who, to the majority of these people, plays the 
part of justice of the peace. He has been in the 
Consulate for forty years, and not unnaturally 
is proud of the fact. In comes an excited Arab 
merchant, stout and podgy, puffing from his 
climb up the stairs, and looking like a veritable 
Blue Beard. He has been brought there at the 
instance of a young Maltese who has done some 
work for him. And the difference between them 



The New Colony 129 

is a matter of twenty-five francs. The patriarchal 
representative of His Majesty King George 
listens sympathetically, talks to the litigants like 
a father — and splits the difference for them. 
Next comes a Maltese fireman, holding by the 
hand his nine-year-old son. He admits that he 
has deserted from an Italian ship, because another 
Maltese has threatened to knife him while he 
is asleep. He appears to have a touching faith 
in the omnipotence of Great Britain, because 
every other sentence he utters is " I'm a British 
subject"; and he claims protection. This means 
international complications, however, and Mr. 
Dickson, the Vice-Consul, gives a patient hearing, 
but ends in advising the man to go back to his 
ship. So it goes on all day ; and thus it comes 
about that the Consulates have a great influence 
in the life and affairs of the community. It 
has often occurred that the British, French, 
and Italian Consulates have been appealed to in 
matters which were absolutely outside their 
jurisdiction, but which the applicants never seemed 
to dream of submitting for settlement to the 
Turkish judiciaries. 

One of the greatest grievances against the 
Turkish Administration was its refusal to spend 
money on the harbour in providing even a 
9 



130 Tripoli and Young Italy 

modicum of safety for shipping. The roughness 
of the sea on the North African coast is some- 
thing which the best of mariners dread, and the 
heavier Tripolitan shipping has to ride at anchor 
nearly a mile out, exposed to all the furies of 
sea gales and Siroccos. There are practically no 
dock facilities, and the loading and unloading of 
cargoes has to be done into scows and small 
boats, of which there are a large number manned 
by a set of rough-and-ready rascals common to 
all Eastern ports. When the great gales come, 
therefore, practically all communication with the 
shore is impossible, and, as the writer has reason 
to remember from the gale which was respon- 
sible for wrecking the hangars of the military 
dirigibles, attempts to embark are attended with 
great risks. After every gale the shore is strewn 
with wrecks of small craft, and salvage work 
is a regular means of livelihood for a large 
number of longshoremen. One of the most 
pathetic incidents of the late December gales 
was the wreck of a schooner with a precious cargo 
of Chianti and champagne. It lay tossing and 
being smashed to pieces almost within arm's 
length of a crowd on the shore. One of the 
spectators, the writer remembers, was a famous 
war-correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, and as 



The New Colony 131 

he stood with his burly form braced against the 
breeze, the mournful contemplation depicted 
on his countenance was something not to be 
forgotten. 

Of the other Tripolitan towns the most im- 
portant is Ghadames, situated 500 kilometres 
from Tripoli on the Tunisian frontier. It has a 
population of about 12,000, and has been a sort 
of clearing-house for the caravans which take 
from Tripoli foreign goods, and bring from the 
interior ivory, ostrich feathers, beeswax, hides, 
and gold-dust. Because of its connection with 
the trade of the Hinterland, Ghadames was sup- 
posed to be very much coveted by the French, 
who very enterprisingly pushed their boundary 
right to its very gates, and past both sides of 
it. The town is surrounded by a high wall, 
which serves as a protection from the sands of 
the desert. It is founded on the bed of an old 
river, and hot springs give fertility to its gardens. 
Its inhabitants present, perhaps, the most perfect 
Berber type. The streets are very narrow, and 
quite dark, because of the many arches and awn- 
ings of matting. The appearance is that of a lot 
of subterranean corridors broken by small oases 
of sunlight, which are made by the smaller shops. 
The people, in order not to knock up against 



132 Tripoli and Young Italy 

each other in the dark, beat the ground with 
their feet in walking, and the women keep up 
a low murmur. Richer people provide them- 
selves with lanterns. It is a very ancient city, 
and there are some Greek and Roman antiquities, 
Ghadames being the old Roman Cydamus. 

Ghat, another important town, lies about 915 
kilometres from Tripoli, at one of the main gates 
to the Sahara, and is situate on a watershed. 
Like Ghadames, it is a trading centre, and the 
Senussi have great influence there. It is sur- 
rounded by a low, ill-built wall, and from a 
central piazza radiate the streets. Instead of the 
usual white the houses are a dirty earth-colour. 
The population is Berber. Very little is known 
about Ghat, the history of the exploration of the 
territory being " written in rivers of blood." 

Murzuk, the capital of the Fezzan, the southern- 
most Tripolitan territory, has a population of 
about 6,000, and is surrounded by a wall of clay, 
which, because of its saline ingredients, glistens 
in the sun. The bastions and towers, however, 
are in decay. It has a rather important market, 
where Arab, Berber, Soudanese, and Kabylese 
dialects are to be heard in the uplifted voices 
of those doing business. The Governor of 
Tripoli deemed it necessary to keep here a strong 



The New Colony 133 

garrison, whose duty was supposed to be the 
checking and punishing of the marauders who 
attacked the caravans, and rendered the trade 
routes so dangerous that commerce fell into 
decay ; but the garrison never took its duties 
very seriously, and, far from rendering the routes 
safe, they were not above methods of "graft" 
to make up for Government neglect in the matter 
of salaries and provisions. Life in Murzuk is 
said to be very agreeable for Europeans, who, 
if they are not archaeologists or explorers, 
find some tolerable sport in excursions in the 
neighbourhood. 

Inland from Tripoli, about 90 kilometres, lies 
Gharian, a small town in the Gebel Mountains, 
and this is what Leo African us has to say about 
it : " Of Mount Gharian. This high and cold 
mountaine, containing in length fortie and in 
bredth fifteene miles, and being separated from 
other mountaines by a sandie desert, is distant 
from Tripolis almost fiftie miles. It yeeldeth 
great plentie of barly and of dates, which vnlesse 
they be spent while they are new, will soon 
prooue rotten. Heere are likewise abundance 
of oliues : wherefore from this mountaine into 
Alexandria and other cities there is much oil 
conueighed. There is not better saffron to be 



134 Tripoli and Young Italy 

found in any part of the world besides, which in 
regard of the goodnesse is solde very deere. 
For yeerely tribute there is gathered out of this 
mountaine threescore thousand ducates, and as 
much saffron as fifteene mules can carrie. They 
. . . have certain base villages vpon this moun- 
taine." 

Eastward along the coast are Tagiura, with 
about 4,000 inhabitants ; Homs, near the ruins 
of the ancient Leptis, a seaport which has ac- 
quired importance as an outlet for the trade in 
esparto grass, one of the presses there being 
owned by a Liverpool firm ; and Misurata, an- 
other port, from which some of the slave trade 
was done. Misurata is a place relatively of much 
importance, because it is the last of Tripolitania 
which is permanently inhabited to the east of 
the capital. Along the coast to Bengasi there 
are only to be found the huts of nomadic tribes. 
The houses in Misurata are fairly well built in 
tolerably straight streets, with a market-place in 
the centre of the town. As the inhabitants are 
much given to digging underground cellars, and 
the surface is of a shallow layer of rocky sub- 
stance, it not infrequently happens that houses 
subside into the cellars. 

At the other side of the Gulf of Sidra lies 




THE CASTLE AT BENGASI. 




ITALIAN ARTILLERY. 



['34 



The New Colony 135 

Bengasi, or Barca, the capital of Cyrenaica, with 
a fluctuating population of about 20,000. Because 
of its splendid situation, the town was named after 
Berenice of the beautiful hair. In fact, it was 
originally the site of the Garden of Hesperides, 
and its river Lethe is undoubtedly the river Lethe 
of mythology, whose waters rejuvenated and drew 
a veil over the past, for to this day the Arabs 
pretend that the river is holy and must not be 
dirtied by drinking from it. They also say that 
its waters have the power to make one forget the 
past, and they would therefore be dangerous to 
drink. As at Tripoli, banks of rocks run out into 
the sea, and the coast is particularly dangerous in 
winter, but there are two sea-walls being con- 
structed now which will give more safety to 
shipping. The town is completely Oriental in 
character, and is comparatively clean and well- 
built. There are several fine bazaars, and the 
sea-front has all the possibilities of a beautiful 
promenade. Besides the mosques, there are 
Catholic and Greek and Jewish churches. Behind 
the town are two veritable mountains of salt, 
and there are natural salt-pans along the coast. 
There is a vast field for archaeological explorers 
in the neighbourhood — ruins of temples, the only 
inhabitants of which are now wolves and wild 



136 Tripoli and Young Italy 

cats. The galleries of the British Museum 
have been enriched with beautiful fragments 
from this district. In a temple of Apollo 
a spring still exists. There are a Roman 
aqueduct, well preserved, and the ruins of an 
Egyptian temple. At Merg there are some 
wonderful bas-reliefs. But it is at Massa that 
one of the most interesting discoveries was made. 
Mr. H. Weld-Blundell found there a particularly 
remarkable megalithic group, which has an 
astonishing resemblance to Stonehenge ; and 
Mr. Cowper remarks that this lends colour to 
the tradition of Geoffrey of Monmouth, that the 
stones of Stonehenge were brought by the arts 
of giants of old from Africa to Kildare, and 
afterwards by Merlin to Salisbury Plain. 

If Bengasi is as charming as Berenice, to what 
glorious beauty must we liken Derna, the " Pearl 
of Cyrenaica," for she has the most delightful 
situation it is possible to imagine, and her climate 
is far superior to that of the Riviera ? The town 
is situated on the two banks of a wadai, in which, 
a few kilometres above, is a cascade of about 
90 feet fall. Through the streets run streamlets 
of water, which give the town a delightfully 
fresh appearance, quite unusual to North Africa. 
Indeed, Derna is likely seriously to rival Nice and 



The New Colony 137 

other Mediterranean beauty-spots as an attraction 
to visitors, and, with all its natural advantages, it 
is certain to be a successful rival. It has a 
population at present of about 10,000, mostly 
Berbers, and it has not been developed along 
commercial lines, chiefly through lack of a good 
port, and because ships have to anchor a mile 
out. A pier could easily be constructed, however, 
to accommodate passenger- boats. 

Tobruk, reputed to have been coveted both by 
Britain and Germany, is a small Arab village, but 
it is the fact of its possessing a wonderful natural 
harbour that has caused these countries to cast 
envious eyes in its direction. When we consider 
that it can hold a fleet which, if hostile, could 
menace the approach to the Suez, we can readily 
realise England's anxiety concerning who should 
be its ultimate possessors. The inlet extends 
two miles north-west by west, and is three-quarters 
of a mile broad, ajid from five to eight fathoms 
deep, except for half a mile at the head of the 
bay, where the water is shallow. It affords 
excellent shelter from all winds except those from 
east and south-east, which are more prevalent in 
summer than in winter. The Italian Navy has 
already effectually proved its value as a naval 
base, and there is a talk of making it a second 



138 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Toulon. It is the expressed opinion of more 
than one authority that whoever holds Tobruk 
holds the supremacy of the Eastern Mediter- 
ranean, and, while opinions vary, there is a general 
belief that for a comparatively little outlay Tobruk 
will soon be in a position to equal Biserta or 
Malta. It is interesting to know that Nelson's 
fleet once took refuge in this natural harbour. 
Beyond Tobruk there lies a great expanse of 
alternating fertile and arid territory which stretches 
right away to the undefined Egyptian boundary, 
and is unoccupied except for a few Bedouin 
villages, and with no landmarks save the tumbled 
ruins of ancient civilisations. 



CHAPTER V 

ITS COMMERCIAL VALUE 

HAVING sustained a severe fall from his 
high moral attitude in condemning the 
Tripoli Expedition, the superior person in politics 
is now asking the world to laugh with him over 
the absurdity of Italy pouring out blood and 
treasure for a colony that will be no good to 
her. It is true that Libya is not so fruitful and 
prosperous as of old, and that, so far as we know, 
there is no fabulous wealth of gold and diamonds 
to be obtained, which, according to the peculiar 
logic of some critics, would have given the 
war a perfectly moral justification. But this 
fact only serves to strengthen the contention 
that Italy was urged on by the political neces- 
sity, and not by the greed of get-rich-quick 
capitalists. As to Tripoli being a bad or a 
good speculation, Italy's reply is that her only 
choice in the matter was that of Hobson. But 
indeed there is something of sour grapes in the§e 



140 Tripoli and Young Italy 

futile efforts to depreciate the commercial value 
of the new colony: for it is plain that with wise 
and democratic control, under which the common 
people shall be given a fair chance, with the con- 
junction of all the latest scientific methods and 
machinery of production in industry and in agri- 
culture, and with the unexampled pioneering ability 
and enthusiasm of the Italian emigrant, there 
will be built up one of the finest colonies in the 
world. The probable absence in large quantities 
of gold and precious stones will be all to its 
advantage, for the civilisation attendant upon the 
intense exploitation of such wealth is not of the 
highest, and most surely has its corollary of 
misery and degradation. The comfortable pros- 
perity of a race of pastoral workers and industrial 
craftsmen will provide a more reliable element 
of support, both material and spiritual, to the 
homeland in the strenuous future that lies 
before it. 

Because of the dangers attendant upon ex- 
ploration and survey, and the violent opposition 
offered by the Turks during the best part of the 
last century to attempts at investigation, we 
are in the position of knowing very little about 
the physical features and possible resources of 
]Libya, beyond the limits of the littoral. So 



Its Commercial Value 141 

many travellers who have sought to gather 
information have never returned from the Hinter- 
land, and what manner of fate befell them has 
never been known. There are no high moun- 
tains, although there are several mountainous 
regions. The highest point in the Gebels is 
not much more than 3,000 feet high, and there 
is scarcely anything higher in the Black Moun- 
tains. The rest is undulating country, although 
many of the undulations are considerable. A 
belt of oasis, varying from three to six miles in 
breadth, runs practically along the whole length of 
the coast, and there are frequent oases breaking 
the sandy waste of the interior. 

There are no true rivers, because there are 
no mountains high enough to keep them run- 
ning, but there are many water-courses which 
become roaring torrents in the rainy season. 
Their positions are marked by zones of fertility, 
refreshingly beautiful to see, and where the 
Arab husbandman hastens to sow his seed after 
the rains. It is a common thing for caravans 
to make pauses long enough to grow and harvest 
a crop, which, of course, does not take to grow 
anything like the time required in more northern 
climes. But the irregularity and inconsistency of 
the rains render the Arab's life a very precarious 



142 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
one, and with his hand-to-mouth methods famine 
has been all too frequent. An old folk-tale 
current among them seems to be sufficient 
explanation to the Arabs for the fact that for 
days together they sometimes see nothing but 
dry, yellow sand. According to this tale it 
appears that once upon a time, between the 
Syrtic Sea and the far Gebels, there lay a 
fertile and beautiful country. The people never 
laboured ; they could pluck fruit in abundance, 
and, like the Arcadians, they lived as shep- 
herds in an earthly paradise. But eventually 
their simple life gave way to luxury and 
dissipation. Then Allah sought to try them. 
So one day there appeared in this country the 
most beautiful of the Houris. She was drawn 
through the waves by golden dolphins, who put 
her on shore at Menscia, where she took up her 
abode in a shady palm-grove. The news of this 
marvellous apparition soon spread through the 
country-side, and reached the ears of the son 
of the Sultan Ghadea. He was so inflamed by 
the passion to make this lovely girl his own, that 
he travelled to the palm-grove. But the Houri 
sought shelter beside her faithful dolphins on the 
sea waves. Then the son of the Sultan entreated 
her to come back to land, solemnly promising 



Its Commercial Value 143 

that he would honour her and would respect 
the rights of hospitality, and that she should 
be free to leave whenever she wished. The 
divine maiden, believing in his promises, con- 
sented to return to the land, but scarcely had 
she done so when the Prince tried to take her 
captive? Filled with despair, she dashed back 
to the sea, followed by a host of pursuers. They 
reached her at Menscia, the place where she 
had first appeared, but before they could touch 
her, she completely vanished — and at the same 
moment all the springs and wells went dry. 
Thus had Allah punished the people's disobedi- 
ence and dissoluteness. 

The climate is somewhat hotter than that of 
Algiers and Tunis, which are protected a little 
by the Atlas Mountains from the hot currents 
from the interior ; but for more than two hundred 
days in the year the average temperature is 
moderate ; and in Tripoli, where readings have 
been taken, it is only from three to four degrees 
higher than the temperature of Palermo. This 
comparative mildness of climate is really remark- 
able, considering the nearness to the tropics, and 
gives ground for the hope that certain towns will 
become climatic stations of the first order, out- 
rivalling the new places which have been opened 



144 Tripoli and Young Italy 

up in the French colonies. The nights are fairly 
cold ; but there is so much humidity that the 
heavy dew is sufficient in many places to supply 
moisture to the vegetation. The Sirocco come^ 
several times a year to liven things up ; and, 
while it is a disagreeable visitor, it is claimed by 
the Arabs that it has a tonicky effect upon the 
date-palms, hastening the ripening and somehow 
adding to their sweetness. What may be termed 
the rainy season is not a very formidable visita- 
tion, being heaviest in December. But even 
then it is rare for rain to fall for a whole day ; 
there are intermittent spells of brilliant sunshine 
and invigorating breezes. A hailstorm which 
occurred in March 1906 is remembered as a 
most remarkable phenomenon. 
^ The standard of wealth for the Arab is the 
palm-tree, and the dates which it gives him are 

^ often his whole sustenance. Considering its 
refreshing beauty and grace, and its economic 
usefulness, it is small wonder that the Arab poet 
sings the praise of the palm. Its peculiar sighing, 
comparable to that of a lovesick swain, is a very 

< hackneyed theme among the minor versifiers. 
The palm flourishes practically without attention, 
and that perhaps is one of its chief recommenda- 
tions ; for the Arab is notoriously a man of 



Its Commercial Value 145 

leisure. An Arab proverb states that it is only 
necessary that the palm shall stand with its feet 
in the water and its head in the sun. Certainly 
its head can stand any amount of sun ; and its 
fine, long roots go after the water which is 
generally to be found within a few feet of the 
surface. The date is a staple article of diet for * 
the indigenous people ; it is not only eaten as 
a fruit, but from the date-stones is compounded 
a meal which, when baked, gives a bread of sorts. '^ 
The best dates are those from the Fezzan. An 
Arab's wealth is computed by the number of 
palms he possesses, and the Turks were accus- *■ 
tomed to levy their taxation on that basis. The 
Turkish extortions in this respect, as we have 
said, led to the wholesale slaughtering of palm- 
trees, and the denuding of large tracts of 
oasis. One palm in good condition renders from 
160 to 200 lb. of dates, which would average 
a cash revenue of from 14 to 15 francs. One 
hectare of land can support a hundred palms, 
which means an income from 1,400 to 1,500 
francs. The whole plant is precious. The wood 
is useful in house or boat building ; from the fibre 
cording is made ; the leaves are worked up into 
roofing, shoes, sandals, hats, brooms, matting, 
and many other articles ; and from the live tree 
10 



146 Tripoli and Young Italy 

may be drawn off a kind of inferior wine which, 
however, seems to be very acceptable to the 
natives, judging by the great pains they take to 
secure it. 

All the fruits for which Southern Italy is 
famous grow splendidly in Tripolitania — oranges, 
lemons, almonds, and olives in abundance — 
although only rough-and-ready methods of 
cultivation have been used. There is a con- 
siderable manufacture of olive-oil. Italian busi- 
ness men have imported the most approved 
machinery, and a complete plant for pressing 
oil has been established on the outskirts of 
Tripoli. This plant has only been in operation 
for about a year ; but the firm has realised a 
much larger amount of oil per bushel than the 
Arabs realise by their antiquated process. The 
olive-trees grow to an enormous size, and there 
are encouraging prospects of a big olive-oil 
industry being developed. 

Tobacco grows easily ; even the natives are able 
to grow fairly good qualities, and with scientific 
methods the plant would render in far greater 
abundance, and of higher quality. The vine 
also, although cultivated carelessly, is very fruit- 
ful, but as the Mohammedan has little use for 
wine, viticulture has not been developed into an 



Its Commercial Value 147 

industry. Bananas at Derna give good returns 
to the comparatively few people who have taken 
the trouble to grow them. Cotton is cultivated 
in a very primitive way, but is astonishingly 
successful, thanks to the encouraging climate. 
Mulberry-trees are grown for the shade they give 
to dwellings, and a few families even carry on a 
small silk-worm industry. In this respect, the 
Italian occupation is likely to have a big effect, for 
the Italian scientific cultivation of silk-worms has 
given her pre-eminence over Lyons for silk. There 
is little flora outside the gardens, but in these is 
to be seen a wonderful variety of most beautiful 
flowers. One product of the new colony, which 
has hardly been touched, is the fish, which 
abound all along the coast : and it is probable 
that Sicilian fishermen will be encouraged to go 
over and tap that source of wealth. 

The present uncultivated state of the land, 
contrasted with the prosperity of the past, has 
given rise to the theor)' that the climate 
has changed since the days when the Greeks 
and Romans made the country to blossom like 
a garden. But the theory rests on no reliable 
foundation, and expert opinion says that there is 
not the slightest doubt about the potential fertility 
of the soil. The present decadence of agriculture 



148 Tripoli and Young Italy 

in Libya is due solely to man's neglect. The 
lack of water is not so much attributable to an 
insufficient rainfall as to the native's ignorance 
as to how to make the best of it ; or, which is 
still nearer the truth, his ingrained indolence and 
" sufficient-unto-the-day " philosophy. This has 
led to his allowing the aqueducts and reservoirs, 
constructed by the Romans, to sink into decay. 
But in addition to the factors of the lack of water 
and the natural idleness of the population, the 
extortionate taxation inflicted upon the husband- 
men, both by Arab and Turkish taskmasters, have 
discouraged cultivation and been an additional 
blight upon the land. 

The Turks, at any rate, had no doubts as to the 
possible fruitfulness of the land ; although their 
policy was one of depreciation, lest the colony 
should become too attractive in the eyes of the 
Powers who had already gobbled up so much 
Mussulman territory. Dr. E. J. Dillon, writing 
from Constantinople, said he had discussed the 
matter with " influential members of the Govern- 
ment and the Opposition, with ex-Grand Viziers, 
Senators, and military men," and what they told 
him was that " the resources of the country are 
incomparably greater than is commonly assumed. 
The seven harbours, Tripoli, Horns, Misurata, 



Its Commercial Value 149 

Bengasi, Derna, Bomba, and Tobruk, might be 
transformed into thriving places, as they were in 
olden times when Carthage, Greece, or Rome 
ruled the land. The area which is fit for 
colonisation and capable of producing date-palms, 
olives, corn, cotton, indigo, vegetables, fruit, 
flowers, grapes, is, according to the most com- 
petent authorities, more extensive than the whole 
German Empire." The German explorer, 
Gerhard Rohlfs, wrote in 1894 that the so-called 
desert which seems to suffocate in mortal embrace 
Tripoli itself, is really good ground, capable of 
rendering immediately substantial returns, if it 
is cultivated with care. " I have proved this in 
numerous experiments which I have made myself, 
and which show that this soil is of incontestable 
value." 

In connection with Cyrenaica it is interesting 
to read the report of the Commission sent out by 
the Jewish Territorial Organisation to spy out 
the land as a possible colony for the refoundation 
of Zion. The report was not favourable for 
the purposes of the Zionist occupation, but 
Dr. Gregory admits there is much good land 
between Derna and the Egyptian frontier, the 
cultivable region being especially along the coast. 
Although very fertile, it is almost uninhabited, 



150 Tripoli and Young Italy 

but one is occasionally surprised by droves of 
camels and donkeys laden with barley, thus 
denoting that there exist some occupation and 
cultivation. The main district of Cyrenaica is 
between Derna and Bengasi, and consists of a 
high plateau. The northern zone of this plateau, 
and the coast-plain at its foot, Dr. Gregory says, 
are the best for colonisation, for this zone re- 
ceives the heavy winter rains : " Trees, plants, 
shrubs, are found flourishing in almost all situa- 
tions." Yet, for their purposes, the Jewish Com- 
missioners found the country disappointing, in 
spite of its beauty, its healthiness, its pleasant 
climate, and its position. 

The report of the Jewish Commissioners, 
however, is subjected to criticism by Dr. O. 
Manetti, editor of Agricoltura Coloniaky the 
journal of the Italian Institute of Colonial 
Agriculture. He points out that the Jewish 
Mission was admittedly conducted " under the 
auspices of the Governor-General of Tripoli " ; 
and, indeed, was greatly favoured by him. To 
Dr. Gregory's remark that "We could under- 
stand why the Turkish authorities would so 
warmly welcome help in their endeavours to 
develop its resources," Dr. Manetti replies that 
the Italians can perfectly well understand that it 



Its Commercial Value 151 

was only favoured by the Turkish Government 
because they saw in it an obstacle to Italian 
economic expansion. He ridicules the idea that 
the J.T.O. could have made any thorough ex- 
amination of so vast an area, when they started 
from Derna on July 27, 1908, and, going in 
a straight line, reached Bengasi on August 14. 
" The Mission only stayed three to four days in 
the centre of Cyrenaica. The expedition was 
carried out in the most dry part of the year, and 
it is impossible in only eighteen days of observa- 
tion to explore from the geological, meteoro- 
logical, and agrarian point of view a territory of 
twelve thousand square miles." As a matter of 
fact, Libya has never been scientifically studied. 
There have been no great geological changes in 
historic times, and it has not been proved that 
there is less water than in the time of the " Libya 
Opima of our fathers." The French in Tunis 
have shown what can be done in the way of in- 
tensive cultivation with water obtained almost en- 
tirely from the sub-soil. Although the Americans 
plume themselves on the discovery of " dry 
farming," Dr. Manetti maintains that that system 
has been employed in Italy for centuries — an 
Italian agriculturist wrote a pamphlet on the 
subject in 1567 — and it was certainly practised in 



152 Tripoli and Young Italy 

ancient Egypt. Italian labour has successfully 
planted eleven million olive-trees in Tunis, and 
it can surely do the same in Libya. Most 
successful experiments in cotton-growing have 
been made during the past five years in Eritrea, 
and it is hoped that this precious textile plant 
will be extensively grown in the new colony. 

" The soils in Cyrenaica belong to the class 
most prized by agriculturists," remarks Dr. 
Manetti. An Arab effendi who lived in Ben- 
gasi for forty years testifies that Cyrenaica pro- 
duces, " even with the old-fashioned methods of 
the Bedouin, who scratches the soil and scatters 
the seed as he would the ashes from his pipe," 
twenty-five million kilos of cereals, and feeds one 
hundred thousand head of cattle. The two 
driving ambitions of the Bedouin are to possess 
much cattle and beautiful weapons ; he cares 
nothing for the cultivation of the soil beyond 
what is necessary for feeding himself and his cattle. 
In many places water is to be found a few feet 
below the surface of the soil, good enough for 
irrigation, if not for drinking purposes. The 
Italian soldiers themselves have soon settled the 
question of the fertility of the soil, for where they 
have been in the trenches for a couple of months 
they have made flourishing little gardens, work- 



Its Commercial Value 153 

ing on which has helped to break the monotony 
of watching for the enemy. The admirable 
suggestion has been made that the first Italians 
privileged to settle in the new colony and take up 
land should be the soldiers who have fought for it ; 
and this would only be repeating history, for the 
Roman legions of old were fighters and farmers 
at the same time, and thus satisfactorily settled 
the question of supplies. It is abundantly clear 
that with his peculiar capacity as a pioneer, his 
love for the soil, his co-operative methods which 
enable him to employ the most up-to-date 
machinery, the Italian soldier turned civilian 
will " make good " where the indigenous, in- 
dolent Arab and Bedouin have barely scraped a 
living. Of Libya's total area of, roughly, 375,1 19 
square miles, over 150,000 square miles are till- 
able, but are lying fallow, while the total area 
under any form of cultivation is less than 23,000 
square miles. 

But although agriculture finds itself in a miser- 
able state, independent of that, Libya has a 
certain source of wealth represented by esparto, a 
grass nearly allied to the well-known feather-grass. 
It requires neither water nor care, and grows 
in abundance on the uncultivated hills which 
form the zone, From very ancient times it ha§ 



154 Tripoli and Young Italy 

been used on both sides of the Mediterranean 
for the making of carpets, sandals, ropes, baskets, 
nets, and sacks, and as a substitute for horsehair. 
But its chief application is now as a component 
in paper-making, for which it is mostly exported 
to Britain. It also grows in Tunis and Algiers. 
The Arabs, after they have gathered the grass, 
make it up in bundles and transport it on camels 
to Tripoli or Homs, On being sold in the market 
there, it is pressed into bales of two quintals each, 
which are then loaded into special steamers for 
export. From Tripolitania there are exported on 
an average 300,ocx) quintals a year, which gives 
an annual proceed of three million francs. The 
Ottoman Government, besides keeping back one 
per cent, of the proceeds, enforced an octroi duty 
on the grass coming into the cities. The practice 
of the Arabs is to pull and not cut the plant, and 
this reckless exploitation results in injury alike 
to the supply and the soil itself In Algeria the 
Government has had to take steps to stop this, 
but the Turkish Government has allowed this 
destruction of a certain source of wealth to go 
on. An English firm is one of the chief ex- 
porters of esparto. 

Sponge-fishing is a considerable source of 
revenue to Libya. The fisheries were begun on 



Its Commercial Value 155 

a systematic scale about 1890, and have become 
one of the most important industries. The best 
sponges come from the waters of Bengasi and 
Bomba. The methods of fishing employed are 
machine boats, trawlers, harpoon-boats, and 
naked divers with line and stone. The machine 
boats, whose men are equipped with diving-suits, 
make the largest takes, but the naked diver 
brings up the best sponges. Trawling and har- 
pooning tend to damage the sponges. The 
machine boats are all Greek, but many of the 
trawlers are Italian, while a large number of the 
harpooners are natives of the Tunisian coast. 
There was a great deal of "graft" in the trade, 
in consideration of which the Turkish authorities 
allowed working conditions to exist which were 
responsible for a perfect holocaust of divers' 
lives — conditions which had long been stopped 
by other countries. 

Another valuable trade is that of ostrich 
feathers, of the treatment of which the following 
interesting description is given by Mr. H. S. 
Cowper : " The ostrich feathers are brought by 
caravan from the Wadai district to Tripoli, where 
they are sorted by Jews. They arrive in bundles 
and in the same dirty condition as they are taken 
from the birds, and, consequently, the first process 



156 Tripoli and Young Italy 

they are put through is that of cleaning. To do 
this they are soaked and scrubbed and then 
beaten out dry on the house roof or stone floor, 
and are then flattened by hand, so as to make the 
plumage project horizontally. In the packing of 
them the Wadai merchants are very clever, and 
often load each bundle with a certain amount of 
sand, because they are sold by weight. In other 
cases, long feathers are cleverly manufactured by 
splitting and joining shorter ones. In these 
trade tricks, however, the Tripoli merchants 
compete with the merchants of Wadai, for, in 
repacking the clean feathers for Europe, they 
so arrange the sorted bundles that they appear 
to be all long feathers, when they are made up 
inside of feathers of all lengths. The European 
buyers, however, know this, and the prices 
regulate themselves. The plumes are, of course, 
further prepared and curled in Europe for the 
market. With regard to price, a great deal 
depends on fashion, black, white, or grey alter- 
nating in proportionate value. But in Tripoli 
fine white plumes can be bought retail at five 
francs, grey ones at three francs, and the black, 
which are of smaller size, at two francs each." 

The imports and exports of Tripoli for an 
average year have been as follows, but it must 



Its Commercial Value 157 

be taken into account that the diversion of the 
caravan trade into routes which have been 
rendered safe by the French and British, in 
addition to the Turkish blight on industry 
generally, has during recent years caused the 
trade of Tripoli to suffer considerably : 



Imports 
Exports , 



Lire. 

11,892,000 

9,485,900 



The imports are thus divided according to 
the countries from which they come : 









Lire. 


•on 


1 England 


. 


2,275,000 


ii 


Italy 1 . 




2,050,000 


>i 


Austria-Hungary 




1,960,000 


II 


Turkish provinces 


of Europe and 






Asia . 




1,630,000 


II 


France . 


. 


1,610,000 


II 


Germany 


. 


505,000 


i» 


Tunisia 


. 


450,000 


II 


Egypt . 


. 


292,000 


>j 


Belgium 


. 


290,000 


i« 


Isle of Crete . 


. 


180,000 


II 


Greece . 


. 


120,000 


II 


other countries 


Total 


530,000 




11,892,000 



' As a matter of fact, Italy stands easily first, for goods coming 
from Malta are reckoned as British exports, while a large portion 
of them are actually Italian, but are transhipped at Malta. 



158 Tripoli and Young Italy 

The exports are divided as follows, according 
to the countries to which they are destined : 

Lire. 

For England 3>375>ooo 

,, Turkish provinces of Europe and 

Asia ...... 1,440,000 

France ...... 1,200,000 

Malta ...... 830,000 

United States 620,000 

Greece ...... 490,000 

Italy 434,000 

Egypt 349,000 

Tunisia and Algiers .... 320,000 

Germany 160,900 

Isle of Crete 87,000 

other countries .... 180,000 



Total . . 9,485,900 

The exports include cattle, sheep, esparto, 
sponges, olive-oil, ostrich feathers, dates, skins, 
wool, sappan wood, eggs, old silver, butter, 
matting, henna, and other articles, including 
poultry, game, and vegetables. The shipment 
of sheep, camels, and donkeys to Egypt, which 
was fairly considerable, was stopped, and in the 
last year the Turks put an embargo on the 
exportation of horses and cattle because it had 
got into the hands of the Italians, who indeed 
seemed to be taking entire control of the 
business of the place. Bengasi remained until 



Its Commercial Value 159 

quite recently the outlet for the traffic in slaves, 
and Misurata also did a like business in human 
flesh, which was principally shipped to Con- 
stantinople and Smyrna. 

Italy has been charged with undue precipitancy, 
but if the conquest of trade was her only motive, 
then her gunboats arrived off the Tripolitan 
coast much too late ; some of her present moral 
mentors had " got there first." The convenient 
position of Tripoli for the enormously rich 
caravan trade from the interior had made her 
an exceedingly prosperous city, and, with the 
development of the Hinterland, she might have 
become one of the richest trade centres in the 
world. From Tripoli formerly began the direct 
road to Timbuctoo and the Upper Niger, and 
it was followed by most of the explorers who 
visited Lake Tchad and Northern Nigeria in 
the earlier part of the last centur)'. 

The two main trade routes across the Sahara 
came out at Tripoli and Bengasi, and it was 
because of this that Rohlfs maintained that the 
possession of Tunis was not worth a tenth part 
that of Tripoli, and that the Power which took 
Tripoli would get the Soudan into the bargain. 
But France had her eye upon the trans-Saharan 
commerce, and she has left no stone unturned 



i6o Tripoli and Young Italy 

to get it. By "rectifying" her Tunisian boun- 
daries she has managed to cut across the route 
to Ghadames, and by the temporary taking off 
of imposts on the traffic, which suffered grievously 
in that respect at the hands of the Turks, she 
has managed to divert a great deal of the 
traffic. A substantial remnant, however, de- 
clined the presents and "little commissions" 
offered by the French, and remained faithful 
to Tripoli. Even although there is no port 
at Gabes, every effort has been made to com- 
plete a road there from Ghadames, and to 
hurry on the making of a port. As there is 
a scarcity of water on the road along which 
the French are seeking to entice the trade, 
engineers are at work making artesian wells. 
But perhaps the greatest inducements to the 
caravans which were diverted was the fact 
that the French rendered the road secure 
from the predatory bands which prey upon 
the cross-desert trade, while the Turks not only 
did nothing to make the time-worn routes safe, 
but are even charged with having participated 
in the plunder. They made some attempt to 
treat with the French on the matter, and there 
was a conference, but the Turkish representatives 
were not even acquainted with the geography 



Its Commercial Value i6i 

of the territory, and the only result of the 
conference was that the French " rectification " 
of her frontier came within six miles of 
Ghadames and reached forward on both sides 
of it, so as to include a large number of the 
wells. The trade follows the wells. It is 
stated that so ignorant were the Turks of their 
own African dominion that at the outbreak of 
the war, when the Sultan asked for a map, 
there was not one to be found. 

Not only have the French diverted much of 
the caravan trade into Tunis, but the opening up 
of Nigeria has meant that traffic from the south- 
west of the Sahara is drawn to the Atlantic 
along the course of the Niger. On the north- 
west the Algerian railways are also beginning 
to tap that great reservoir of commercial po- 
tentiality, while since the fall of the Mahdi the 
trade of the south-east tends to return to the 
Nile route. But while the Hinterland trade with 
Tripoli has almost fallen to vanishing-point, and 
for the present is entirely suspended on account 
of the war, it is believed that the Soudan will 
always look for an outlet on the Mediterranean ; 
and the fact that the route to Tripoli is five 
or six hundred kilometres shorter than any 
other, and possesses an almost continuous line 
II 



i62 Tripoli and Young Italy 

of oases, gives ground for hopes that the Italians 
will, when they have made the roads safe, be 
able to make Tripoli again the chief port for 
the caravan trade. And with the trade, and 
the constructional work that will be carried out, 
labour will also be attracted back again. Let 
it be said to the credit of the Turks, however, 
that an eleventh-hour attempt was made to stop 
the leakage of trade. About a year ago the 
Governor-General of Tripolitania advertised a 
contract for making a ten-mile highway road 
from Tripoli in the direction of the Tunisian 
frontier, taking good care that none but Turkish 
subjects were allowed to bid for the work. It 
was proposed to institute an automobile service, 
and the road was actually commenced — a display 
of energy which surprised everybody, because 
few believed the project would ever be carried 
out. 

It seems certain that, so far as minerals are 
concerned, there is no Eldorado waiting to be dis- 
covered in the new colony, although the vigilance 
and jealousy of the Turks have kept the mountain 
region "wropt in mystery " in so far as geological 
exploration is concerned. The few travellers 
who have penetrated these regions were not 
mining engineers, and the San Filippo and 




MAKING A NEW RuAD. 




CAMELS TRANSPORTING TIMBER AT TRIPOLI. 

162] 



Its Commercial Value 163 

Sforza Missions sent out by the Italian Govern- 
ment some time ago have been unable to com- 
municate their conclusions, because they are at 
present lost to civilisation. Arabs belonging to 
caravans from the Hinterland have been seen 
in Tripoli market offering for sale small nuggets 
of silver, which they declared came from the 
Gebels, and others have traded gold-dust, but 
it is doubtful whether gold or silver are really 
to be found in the territory embraced by Libya. 
The Italian mining engineer Cortezzi, who 
has had a great deal of experience in North 
Africa, having been through the whole of Tunis 
and the greater part of Egypt, speaking from 
reports given him and from geological specimens, 
says that in the Highlands there are to be found 
sulphurous layers, or, at any rate, there is sulphur- 
ous lime, analogous and coeval with that of Sicily 
and Roumania, although, until further investiga- 
tion is made, it cannot be known whether the 
mineral is sufficiently rich to justify an extracting 
industry. His own opinion is that it will justify it, 
because of the great purity of the sulphur. The 
natives use it only as a medicine for camels with 
skin disease, but it is stated that years ago they 
did a little mining, and the product was sent to 
a sulphur company at Marseilles. 



i64 Tripoli and Young Italy 

It is practically certain, however, that there 
is a wealth of phosphates awaiting excavation, 
and, when France was " rectifying " her Tunisian 
frontier, it looked very much as if she had an 
eye on the phosphates which are to be found in 
the neighbourhood of Ghadames. Towards Egypt 
there are known to be vast layers of this precious 
mineral, and, although the quality is usually 
rather poor, yet it is fully expected that, as in 
Egypt, there will be discovered frequent patches of 
very rich phosphates. It is quite possible, there- 
fore, that with two valuable components, sulphur 
and phosphate, the colony will take a leading 
place in the world for the manufacture of artificial 
manures. In the mountainous regions of Tripo- 
litania there are also iron, zinc, lead, and possibly 
petroleum and lignite, signs of rich carbon 
deposits having been discovered quite close to 
Tobruk. Should mining industries be developed, 
therefore, it is likely that they will have an 
advantage over those of Tunis, because they 
are so much nearer the coast, and there is 
more water. A good quality of sandstone is 
to be found in various parts of the colony, but 
very little quarrying has been done by the 
natives. Along the coast of Cyrenaica there 
is enough salt to salt the whole of Europe. 



CHAPTER VI 

FUTURE OF LIBYA 

WHAT are the Italians going to do with 
their new colony now they have got it ? 
That is what other people who have had colonis- 
ing troubles and trials of their own are wondering, 
because this will really be Italy's first attempt at 
anything of the sort. By common agreement 
Eritrea and Somaliland do not count as colonies 
in the ordinary sense of the word. And Italy 
is quite well aware of her inexperience in these 
matters, and that she has a lot to learn. But 
what she realises more than anything else is that 
she simply must either " make good ' in this 
supreme trial of her colonising capacity, or bid 
farewell for ever to any hope of expansion, and 
expect the national atrophy and rapidly dwindling 
prestige that would most surely be the consequence 
of her failure. Therefore, since the first landing 
of her troops at Tripoli, all the talk of her with- 
drawal or of her compromising in any way was 

165 



i66 Tripoli and Young Italy 

wasted breath. It is not war-fever nonsense, but 
downright earnestness, when Italy says she 
pledged herself to the last man and the last 
farthing in this enterprise. She has no delusions 
on the matter ; she is open-eyed and wide awake 
to all that success or failure means to her. Failure 
in the new colony would not only reduce her to 
a state of even greater helplessness, while the 
world around her was being devoured by other 
Powers, than if she had never gone to Tripoli 
at all, but even her own homeland would not 
be considered inviolate ; her citizens would lose 
all hope and faith in themselves, and be lacking 
in the patriotism so essential for a nation's 
successful defence. 

But there is no mistaking Young Italy's deter- 
mination and abounding enthusiasm in this 
matter, whatever may have been the failings of her 
forerunners in other attempts at colonising. She 
recognises that if this is her first real trial, it is 
her first real chance, and if due regard to the 
successes and failures of other colonising schemes 
counts for anything, then the Italians are likely 
to make but few blunders. For the men who are 
charged with responsibility in this matter add to 
their enthusiasm as pioneers an astonishingly 
complete understanding of the science and history 



Future of Libya 167 

of colonising, which is the outcome of many years' 
close study, and betrays a " longheadedness " with 
which Italians have rarely been credited. And 
even if the Government officials had been unpre- 
pared with plans for founding a colony, since the 
annexation of Libya there has been no lack of 
gratuitous advice. It has poured in from all 
sides, from sociologists, ex- Ministers, members of 
Parliament, prominent publicists, land reformers, 
Socialists, engineers, and jurists. While it has 
somewhat bewildered the heads of the Govern- 
ment, it has been an encouraging revelation of 
the people's support and interest in the new 
work. 

One thing has been made abundantly clear, 
and that is that there is plenty of capital available 
for developing the new colony. The formation 
of a group of Milanese business men who are 
subscribing a capital of 20,000,000 lire is but one 
instance of the eagerness of capital to participate, 
which, to say the least, does not suggest that 
Libya is the exhausted land it is often made out 
to be by depreciating critics. Capital is not 
prone to allow its patriotism to run away with its 
business common-sense. It is among the smaller 
capitalists, the farmers, and the tradesmen, that 
the eagerness to go to Tripoli is perhaps the 



i68 Tripoli and Young Italy 

greatest, especially in the south and in Sicily, 
where they have been drawing their little savings 
from the banks in preparation for the journey to 
the new land. And among the people who have 
nothing to invest but their labour, the strength of 
their hands, there is also an embarrassing enthu- 
siasm which has decisively settled the question as 
to whether they prefer to emigrate to America 
where they will be ruthlessly exploited by 
strangers who have no interest in them except 
for what can be got out of them, or to seek a 
living in the more sympathetic environment of 
a country which is not far removed from the 
Fatherland, and which they can call their own. 
Naturally, this exuberance of enthusiasm led to 
a rush for permits to go and visit Italian Africa, 
and in less than six weeks after the troops had 
landed, over 20,000 applications had been received 
for special passports to Tripoli. This was very 
gratifying, but the Government was not inclined 
to commit any blunders, and made it as difficult 
to get to Tripoli as it used to be considered 
for a rich man to get to heaven. Every one 
had to produce vouchers for the capital they 
possessed, and a fine discrimination was exercised 
as to the character of the would-be pioneers. 
A certain number of passports were granted for 



Future of Libya 169 

each town and district, and the local authorities 
had to stand responsible for the good character 
as citizens of those to whom the passports were 
given. But before any civilians were allowed to 
land, the King had taken good care to promulgate 
a decree which effectually nipped in the bud any 
hopes of land speculators. To General Caneva 
was given full power to forbid the buying or 
selling of any territory, gardens, quarries, mines, 
rights of fishing, and of the use of water for 
industrial and agricultural purposes, until such 
time as definite rules for the administration of 
the colony had been established. Any convey- 
ance of land or rights in defiance of this enactment 
would be rendered invalid, as also any contracts 
made since the Italian occupation prior to this 
order being promulgated. As was to be expected, 
the King's decree cut athwart a good many 
speculative transactions, for the bombardment of 
Tripoli had sent up its value exceedingly. Some 
people were heard to grumble that they were 
going to be worse off under their own Govern- 
ment than they had been under the benevolent 
rule of the Turks, which expression of discontent 
King Victor Emmanuel may take as unbiased 
testimony to the efficacy of his decree. Far from 
being arbitrary, the Government has shown itself 



170 Tripoli and Young Italy 

desirous of giving individual initiative and enter- 
prise a fair chance ; but, above that, it desires to 
secure the rights not only of those who are " here 
to-day and gone to-morrow " with a pocketful of 
money, but of those who are going to invest their 
all, to seek a living and a permanent home in the 
new colony. But for this provision and precau- 
tion it would doubtless have gone hard with the 
schemes for founding a colony of peasant pro- 
prietors, and the economic future of Libya would 
have been compromised. 

Commendatore Luigi has been sent out to 
Tripoli by Signer Sacchi, the Minister of Public 
Works, to study the whole problem. This 
eminent engineer was for many years in Argen- 
tina, where he created as if by a miracle that most 
important naval and military station, Baja Blanca. 
He is very optimistic about the new colony, 
because he was not long in Tripoli before he 
came to the conclusion that the land is much 
more valuable and much more favourable to 
agriculture than that of South America. After 
making a tour of inspection, and an examination 
of the properties of the soil, and the state of its 
growing vegetation, he ridiculed the idea that 
great waterworks are absolutely essential to the 
revival of agriculture. He knows from his own 



Future of Libya 171 

experience of the Argentine that human labour 
and activity, well organised, are the most impor- 
tant factors ; and these are just what have been 
lacking in Libya. Many regions in South 
America of greater aridity than Tripolitania have 
been made fertile by the modern methods of 
agricultural science, a branch of knowledge in 
which the Americans claim to lead the world. It 
is not meant to deny the advantages of big supplies 
of water, but to show that with even a moderate 
supply the modern farmer can make the soil yield 
a good harvest. Commendatore Luigi points out 
that while the average rainfall of the Argentine is 
but 350 millimetres, that of Tripolitania is little 
less than 500 millimetres, and what Italian 
immigrants can do in America they can surely 
accomplish in the new colony. 

It was quickly decided by Commendatore Luigi 
that the first essential work was the construction 
of a port at Tripoli, and it was not long before he 
produced a plan of a fairly ambitious character, 
which was immediately adopted. The line of 
rocks running out from the old port makes an 
excellent foundation for the northern sea-wall, 
which will be extended well beyond the actual 
harbour as a breakwater. The port will be nearly 
scjuare in formation, 1,800 metres by 1,500 metres. 



172 Tripoli and Young Italy 

thus providing an anchorage that will put in the 
shade many old-established European ports. The 
ends of the enclosing piers are to come within 
250 metres, this gateway being at the point where 
ships of heavy draught may easily enter. The 
scheme is so planned that the most essential parts 
can be commenced and completed first. Contrary 
to expectations, there is not much dredging to be 
done. The need for a breakwater is very urgent, 
as the transport service has found to its cost. 
The severe northern gales absolutely cut off 
communication with the coast, and it has been a 
frequent occurrence that the city has been without 
a mail service from two to three weeks. During 
the gales of December troops could not be landed, 
and they had to be taken back to Sicily until 
better conditions prevailed. But while the lines 
of rock at Tripoli render construction of the 
harbour comparatively easy, the problem at 
Bengasi is a most difficult one, the roadstead 
being very open. It is of the greatest impor- 
tance, however, that the work of constructing a 
safe harbour should be taken in hand at once, 
because Tripoli is destined to have a big traffic. 
In the meantime temporary landing-places are to 
be provided. Tobruk, of course, will have special 
attention, because of its special character, and 



Future of Libya 173 

Horns and Derna also demand ship-shape port 
accommodation. 

Commendatore Luigi maintains that the con- 
struction of an up-to-date port at Tripoli will be 
a good " business proposition " for the Govern- 
ment, as the imposition of tariffs something 
like those which obtain in the colonial harbours 
of France and England will result in a good 
rate of interest on the investments. At a rough 
estimate he says that the outside cost should 
be under ten million francs ; an item of informa- 
tion that was pleasant news to the Government, 
who had contemplated the possibility of a figure 
very much higher. At Gargaresch, close to 
Tripoli, has been found an abundance of stone 
which is already being quarried. 

For the city of Tripoli itself, Commendatore 
Luigi is planning a bright future. As far as possible 
the character of the old city will be respected and 
left unchanged, except where it is necessary to 
introduce modern methods for ensuring its cleanli- 
ness and illumination. The " local colour " is to 
be preserved even at some cost. The modern 
town will extend on either side, and it is predicted 
that it will become one of the most beautiful 
garden cities in the world. The early institution 
of tramways will obviate the crowding together 



174 Tripoli and Young Italy 

of dwelling-houses and guarantee that the 
beautiful environs are developed for residential 
purposes. The Sindaco has presented a report 
showing that the municipality owns a great deal 
of property in the town, from which the revenue 
will jump up at once from 200,000 to 300,000 
lire, as a consequence of increased values. Thus 
there is a fund ready for improvements. The 
town at present stands in great need of a per- 
manent water-supply, and an up-to-date scheme 
is in hand for bringing the water from the 
spring at Ain-Zara, less than five miles away. 
Commendatore Luigi confesses his impatience to 
see this accomplished, so that he can watch the 
astonishment and admiration of the natives when 
they see rising from fountains in the principal 
piazza beautiful jets of fresh water sparkling in 
the sunlight. He has a great belief in miracles 
of that kind for convincing backward peoples 
of the blessings of civilisation. 

The problem of fighting the invading sands of 
the desert does not daunt this enterprising engineer, 
who combines with his expert knowledge, which 
has been hammered out of actual experience, an 
enthusiasm which is infectious. He had to fight, 
and he conquered, the sand-dunes in Argentina, 
where they are of much greater mobility than 



Future of Libya 175 

those of Libya. In one place a battery of cannon 
which had been set down in the evening was 
next morning entirely buried in sand. To-day 
that locality is perfectly stable, for in three years 
Commendatore Luigi had grown a belt of eucalyp- 
tus-trees round it. Behind them he kept big flocks 
grazing so as to harden and manure the earth, 
which to-day produces a wealth of vegetables. 
In Tripoli he is sanguine of the same success. 
Tamarisk, eucalyptus, and maritime pine trees 
are to be planted extensively all along the 
littoral zone, and the water of the skies and the 
night humidity are expected to be sufficient for 
the purpose. Behind this barrier, until such 
time as extensive irrigation schemes can be 
accomplished, the latest dry-farming science is 
to be utilised, and market-gardening and fruit- 
growing are to be encouraged. 

In this respect it is interesting to note that 
there is a strong desire that the new colony 
should become ethnically as well as politically 
Italian. And to this end it is urged that the 
system which has done so much to bring about 
the revival of agriculture in the homeland should 
be applied in Libya — namely, that relatively small 
holdings should be created, and that these should 
be worked by Southern Italians, who for so long 



176 Tripoli and Young Italy 

have formed the bulk of the emigrants for foreign 
lands. Only on such conditions can the colony 
become truly Italian. " We must be careful," 
says one writer, "that the misfortune does not 
befall us that vast territories become the absolute 
and tangible property of a small group of capi- 
talists who might use Arab labour instead of 
Italian as being cheaper. The Italian can compete 
as a man and as a working proprietor, but 
perhaps could not compete equally with the Arab 
in the matter of remuneration." It is realised 
that unless the Italian is given a "stake in the 
country " he will need some inducement to refuse 
the higher remuneration offered in America, 
although his sense of patriotism is very strong, 
and his love for his homeland and desire to be 
near it could not very well be stronger than it is. 
The Italian is the ideal colonist for Libya ; he 
has simply made Tunis and Algiers for France, 
not to mention his pioneering work on big schemes 
all over the world. But he must be given a fair 
chance, and then there will be no doubt as to what 
he will make of the new colony, and there will 
be no further need for French Parliamentarians 
to worry about what they call " the Italian peril " 
in Tunis. It is hoped that the Bank of Sicily 
may be induced to come to the assistance of the 



Future of Libya 177 

pioneers, and that when the system of small 
holdings has been introduced, strong encourage- 
ment will be given to the establishment of co- 
operative agricultural banks on the Raiffeisen 
model. Then indeed a real expansion of the 
Fatherland could be made. It is particularly 
hoped that, in the event of the opening up of 
mining industries, the Government's foresight will 
guarantee that the Itcilian workmen are not 
subjected to conditions like those which prevail in 
the mining districts of Tunis. Here, in striking 
contrast to the rich quarters of the commercial 
classes, the miners are to be found living in a 
state not far removed from abject squalor. 

The problem of native labour will probably be 
as difficult in Tripoli as it has been found to be 
in the French colonies. Compared with European 
standards the Arab is indolent. He is certainly 
not a successful cultivator of the soil. He will 
only plant and till in his rough way, which is just 
sufficient to meet the wants of his family ; and 
being of a nomadic character he has no interest 
in improving the land. When one district be- 
comes distasteful, or littered up with his own 
refuse, he will move on to another. But the 
Arabs have shown that they can work when 
taught how to work. This can be seen any 
12 



178 Tripoli and Young Italy 

day in Tunis, where, even when of slight of 
stature, they perform prodigious feats of manual 
labour. And a few minutes at the wharves 
in Tripoli, since the Italian occupation, is suffi- 
cient to show how the Arabs can work when 
they get the encouragement of something like 
reasonable wages. A short time ago a mill was 
being built in Tripoli, and Arabs were among 
the labourers employed. At first they began to 
carry the sand and other ingredients required, in 
small baskets and in a leisurely way ; but when 
they were shown how to use wheelbarrows they 
proved as efficient workmen as the Europeans. 
They work better with Italians than with men 
of any other nationality, because the Sicilian and 
Southern Italian has very much in common 
with the Arab, and they are all very sympathetic 
towards each other. This has been demon- 
strated in Tunis, where the Arabs were prac- 
tically unmanageable when obliged to work 
alongside of other than Sicilians. Perhaps the 
similarity of climate has something to do with 
the similarity in their jealous regard for their 
women folk. The Fezzan and Soudanese 
negroes are also good workers, although up till 
now their work has been merely that of care- 
takers and domestic servants. A large number 




THREE PARTICULAR 

YOUNG FRIENDS OF 

THE AUTHOR. 




ARAB TYPES. 




BEDOUIN DOMICILE. 



[179 



Future of Libya 179 

of them are freed slaves. All the Fezzans are 
born good cooks. 

It is generally agreed that the development 
of agriculture must take precedence of all else ; 
but there can really be no choice in the matter 
until the cessation of hostilities has once more 
opened up the Hinterland for commerce. The 
many Roman reservoirs, completely abandoned 
by the Arabs, but still to be found in an excel- 
lent state of preservation, can easily be put into 
workable order again at a comparatively small cost ; 
and of course artesian wells will be constructed as 
in Tunis. If the Government continues its present 
policy, voracious speculation in land will be 
guarded against ; and societies with assured capital 
may be given that perfect security of tenure 
which is necessary to intensive cultivation. Land 
will be put down to barley and wheat, and plenty 
of pasturage must be assured ; but for the 
present much energy will be put into the raising 
of fruits and vegetables. Afforestation will be 
in the hands of the State. The cultivation of 
the silk-worm will be facilitated by the presence 
of a large number of mulberry-trees. Cyrenaica 
especially will develop its trade in horses, sheep, 
and cattle — a business that was starved by the 
Turkish maladministration ; and ostrich-farming 



i8o Tripoli and Young Italy 

is likely to be attempted on a large scale, in 
view of the excellent market for feathers. 
Systematic research is already established to 
ascertain the possibilities of tobacco and cotton 
growing, which, even with the primitive methods 
of the natives, seem to give such good results. 
The esparto trade, which is capable of enormous 
extension, in view of its use for paper-making, 
is of course arrested for the present owing to 
the hostilities, which cut off communications with 
the esparto fields. 

The crying need for roads has also to rest 
unsatisfied for this same reason, although the only 
chance of again securing the Hinterland traffic, 
which has either been diverted into other countries 
or suspended owing to war, lies in prompt action 
in the matter of roads, with plenty of capital to 
back it. Notwithstanding the patient efforts 
of England in Upper Nigeria, and the activities 
of the French in Tunis and Algiers, there re- 
mains in favour of Italy the fact that the route 
from the Soudan to Tripoli is 600 kilometres 
shorter than any other, that there are more 
frequent oases, and the sands are less agitated 
by the winds. In fact the English competition 
in Nigeria may be regarded as a negligible 
quantity if the northern routes are made safe, 



Future of Libya i8i 

for the Soudanese will always prefer to trade 
with the Mediterranean. Ghadames must be 
made secure, and a good safe road established 
between Murzuk and Ghat, while all mer- 
chants from the central Sultanates must be pro- 
tected on their way to the central market of 
Ghadames, which they have always favoured. 
Then will it be conclusively proved that the new 
colony is not the meatless bone it is made out to 
be by jealous people. The Italians will doubtless 
find it more profitable to utilise the Tripoli Arab 
merchants as middlemen, providing them with 
wares, and giving them security, than to compete 
directly with them. The trading instincts and 
enterprise of the Tripolitan Arabs can be counted 
on as a very useful asset. 

It is too early yet, perhaps, to speak of the 
development of a railway system and its possible 
effect upon the rapidly growing commerce of the 
interior ; but there are not wanting instances 
indicating that the Italian Government is going 
ahead with its eyes open in this direction. If any- 
thing more were needed to show how thoroughly 
the Italians are waking up, it would only be neces- 
sary to point out that while it took them fifteen 
years to think about a railway in Eritrea, and 
five more to get a small portion laid down, before 



i82 Tripoli and Young Italy 

they had been three months in Tripoli they were 
already commencing to make a railway. With 
great foresight they abandoned the first idea of 
a line on the Decauville system, which was 
necessary to serve the troops at Ain-Zara, and to 
back them up in their advance, and decided on 
the laying down of a track with a broader 
gauge, which will require comparatively little 
reorganisation when the time arrives for its use 
as a commercial railway, and the possible linking 
up of it with other North African systems. 
All red tape has been cut through, and nothing 
is to stand in the way of the railway, which will 
be extended as far and as fast as the military 
advance will allow. The Italian State railways 
are contributing men and materials, and the 
rolling-stock and general equipment ready for the 
complementary line in Sicily have been shipped 
over to Tripoli instead. The engineers are 
practically treading on the heels of the soldiers ; 
so much so, that they had once to stop their 
work in order to deal with the enemy. How 
long it will be before they can get right into 
the interior is a matter of guesswork. It took 
the English ten years to prepare their campaign 
against the Mahdi by the construction of a long 
line of railway from Wadi Haifa to Berber. 



Future of Libya 183 

The recent occupation of the Solium by the 
British was fully expected and hoped for 
by the Italians, on account of the considerable 
leakage of contraband arms and supplies for 
the Turks ; and it has stimulated speculation 
in the possibilities of uniting with the 
Khedival railway, which is to serve the whole 
region between Alexandria and Cyrenaica, and 
which, despite Turkish discouragement, has 
nevertheless been pushed forward at a very 
rapid rate, and at no very distant date will join 
up Alexandria with the Gulf of Solium. It was 
originally a light agricultural railway, and it is 
due solely to the acumen of the Khedive that the 
greater part of the line is now of normal gauge. 
If these lines were linked up with an Italian 
system in Libya, then, starting from Alexandria 
and going at an average of twenty-five miles an 
hour, one could reach the border of Cyrenaica 
in less than nine hours, and be in Tripoli in 
about twenty-four hours. What such a develop- 
ment might mean in relation to the Indian mail 
can well be imagined if we reflect that with a 
steamship service between Tobruk and Brindisi 
something like twenty hours would be saved. 
This war has demonstrated that the Italians 
know the value of "the use of the imagination 



i84 Tripoli and Young Italy 

in science," and they are keenly alive to the 
possibilities of aerial transport, which, when 
perfected, will completely subjugate the desert to 
the uses of civilisation. 

Then again, one has only to glance at the 
map to see how much the value of the German 
Cameroons, and the more recently acquired Congo 
Territory, depends upon a direct commercial route 
through Murzuk to Tripoli. Already a scheme 
has been discussed for bringing a line in the 
Cameroons to the borders of Libya, where the 
Italians might link up and effect a through 
service. The scheme is an ambitious one, and 
would revolutionise the commerce of the whole 
of North Africa. It would make of Tripoli one 
of the most important commercial ports in the 
world. However, as the main supporters of the 
scheme have been German capitalists, there has 
so far been good reason to doubt whether it 
would meet with Italy's approval. 

But even the best laid schemes are dependent 
upon an unknown quantity — the character of the 
resistance which the tribes of the interior are going 
to give to the spread of European domination. 
The participation of the Arabs in this struggle 
between Italy and Turkey has complicated 
matters considerably, because the Italians had 



Future of Libya 185 

very good reasons for believing that their 
occupation of Tripoli would have proved accept- 
able to the coast tribes, who, as traders, had 
been showing a disposition to favour Italians. It 
is quite possible, however, that when no further 
Turkish pay is forthcoming, these particular 
Arabs will experience a cooling down of the 
religious fanaticism which the wily Turks have 
played upon to an unlimited extent, and that 
after a few sporadic outbursts they will accept 
the Italian fait accompli. Then there are the 
wild men of the desert, the famous Tuareg, 
who rob and pillage the caravans and generally 
make the lives of the other tribes a burden to 
them. A large number of the Tuareg live at 
Ghadames and Ghat, and there is likely to 
be trouble with them ; but it is not considered 
insuperable. 

It is commonly held, however, that the pacifica- 
tion of the natives and the European advance 
depend upon the attitude of the religious sect 
known as the Senussi, although some French 
writers affect to depreciate the influence this 
famous brotherhood is said to have on the 
North African tribes. The Senussi are credited, 
rightly or wrongly, with agitating a "jehad" or 
Holy War against the European invader, whether 



i86 Tripoli and Young Italy 

French, British, Italian, or Spanish ; but so far as 
is known, they have not shown their hand against 
Italy in the present war. Indeed, it is known 
that the Senussi have treated the Turks with con- 
tempt, looking upon them as a species of heretics, 
in whose hands there can never be any hope for 
the preservation of Islam. They have repeatedly 
refused to receive the envoys of the Sultan, 
moving off into the desert when they arrive. 
Constantinople had no delusions with regard to 
the power of the Senussi, whose chief has a far 
wider influence than the Mahdi ever had, and 
knew that its only hope of making the Ottoman 
dominion paramount throughout Libya lay in 
winning their good favour. Three years ago 
the Turkish Government sent a mission, headed 
by the Vali of Bengasi, to treat with the Senussi, 
and to induce them to accept a Turkish garri- 
son at Cufra, their headquarters. The Turkish 
envoy is reported to have started out with great 
ostentation, riding a magnificent mare, but the 
only result of his mission was that he returned 
astride a pitiful little donkey. The chief of the 
Senussi had " commandeered " the magnificent 
mare. It is notorious that nearly all the tribes 
were considerably in arrears with the payment of 
the taxes the Turks had sought to impose upon 



Future of Libya 187 

them, and troops had to be employed to do the 
tax-collecting. Once, near Derna, a tribe which 
was strongly Senussite received such a sudden 
visit from the Turkish soldiers that they had no 
time to hide a quantity of barley which was 
stacked in sheaves. The chief was sitting near 
the barley when the Turkish officer came up and 
demanded to know to whom the barley belonged, 
because no tax had been paid on it. The chief 
coolly threw four cartridges on to the barley, and 
quietly replied : "It belongs to those four little 
old men sitting on the top of it." The tax was 
not collected ! 

The power of the Senussi is temporal as well as 
spiritual. Its missionaries, than whom no cult can 
show more devoted men, are to be found every- 
where. When they have made converts, they 
hand over arms to them, which they invest with a 
great spiritual meaning — the disciples are made to 
feel that in the proper use of these weapons rest 
their spiritual salvation and the very existence 
of Islam. From the chain of monasteries a 
watchful eye is kept over the tribes, and the 
government could not very well be more complete 
than it is. A tenth is the tribute the believers 
gladly give to the monasteries, and as a con- 
sequence the Head of the Senussi and his chief 



1 88 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
officers have amassed enormous wealth. Imposts 
are also paid by the caravans which pass by Cufra 
to Cyrenaica, for which they are guaranteed greater 
security on the road than they could expect from 
the Turks. Justice is administered by the Senussi, 
and even in the littoral of Cyrenaica, rather than 
use the Turkish courts, the tribes took their 
differences to them. Naturally, the Head of the 
Senussi is able to dispose of thousands of armed 
tribesmen, and if it is true that he is organising 
an extensive Holy War — which may be considered 
as a commercial war — then there is a great deal 
of trouble brewing for the European nations, and 
no pacification of the interior of Libya can be 
expected for a long time. However, signs have 
not been wanting that, menaced as they are by 
the British from the Egyptian side, and by the 
French from Tunis and Algeria, the Senussi are 
alive to the disaster which would come upon 
them if they were deprived of all their sources 
of wealth by being cut off entirely from the 
Mediterranean and boxed up in the desert. In- 
deed, even before the Turco- Italian hostilities 
commenced, the Head of the Senussi had begun 
to treat with the Italians through his emissaries 
at Bengasi, and the Italians had actually been 
allowed to establish an agency on the oasis of 



Future of Libya 189 

Cufra, a very great privilege indeed ; while mer- 
chants of the Senussite tribes in Cyrenaica had 
begun to have transactions with the Banco di 
Roma at Bengasi. 

If Italy is able to convince this undoubtedly 
powerful sect that the Italian occupation will give 
every trading facility, and has nothing of an anti- 
Islam aspect, then it will have achieved some- 
thing very great indeed, something that no 
other colonising Power has achieved. Italy did, 
indeed, show herself eager to placate the Arabs, 
and to respect their religion ; it was this eager- 
ness which was directly responsible for the massacre 
of the Italian troops by the Tripoli Arabs, and 
which was followed by those stern reprisals that 
made the invaders' task heavier instead of lighter. 
But even after the massacres, while not too much 
reliance was placed upon the word of the Arab, 
and hanging was the lot of the secreters of arms, 
the Italians were at great pains to respect the 
religious susceptibilities of the Arabs. Soldiers 
were forbidden to enter mosques ; although these 
places of worship were known to be the hatching- 
ground of plots, because of their immunity from the 
" infidel." The Arabs were requested to continue 
their prayers, which had been suspended because 
of the hostilities, and the Muezzin soon appeared 



iQo Tripoli and Young Italy 

on the minaret again. Hassuna Pasha Karamanli, 
of the old reigning house in Tripolitania, was 
selected as Mayor of Tripoli, and at the feast of 
Cheker Bairam, according to the old custom, 
the Italian authorities distributed a few hundred 
sheep and great quantities of barracans among 
the Arabs, much to their surprise and delight. 
They were made to feel that no hindrance would 
be placed in the way of their religious obser- 
vances. It has been decided, as far as possible, 
to use the Moslem administrative machinery, and, 
so far as Tripoli is concerned, this has already 
given great satisfaction to the Arabs. The Cadi 
will be allowed to retain much of his old juris- 
diction, and no harsh attempt will be made to 
withdraw the children from the " education" they 
receive in the mosques, except by demonstra- 
ting that a far better education will be available 
to them in the Italian schools, where, indeed, 
Arabic is already being taught. In this respect, 
tribute must be paid to the Italian school system 
which had been established in Tripoli and 
Cyrenaica long before the occupation, and was 
accomplishing a great work, not only of an edu- 
cational, but also of a moral character among the 
youth of the indigenous peoples. So that if the 
invaders do not succeed in winning the trust 



Future of Libya 191 

and favour of the natives, it will not be for the 
want of trying. 

And the Italians are dreaming, too, while they 
work. Domenico Tumiati has a vision of the 
future as he stands on the deck of a home- 
going steamer, and gazes out over Libya : 
" The roadsteads of Tripoli, of Homs, of Misu- 
rata, of Bengasi, of Derna, of Bomba, are for- 
tified and protected. Their splendid harbours 
are crowded with ships, loading and unloading 
the riches of Africa and the industrial products 
of Italy. A light electric railway branches 
out from Tripoli in all directions of the oasis, 
pushing as far as the mines of Fossato and 
Jeffren. Here it divides into two arteries, one 
going as far as Ghadames and Murzuk ; while the 
other joins Bengasi to the sulphur mines and 
the salt-pans of Sert and the oases of Baka, 
pushing as far as the Egyptian frontier. On the 
south they are working busily on the Red Sea 
to join Italian Eritrea with Mediterranean Italy — 
Tripoli with Ethiopia. Italy, the rival of England 
and France, is camped on two seas, having an 
extension of a million square kilometres, with a 
population that is all her own, multiplying rapidly 
by the side of the exhausted Arab race ; the 
earth, turned over by thousands of ploughs, 



192 Tripoli and Young Italy i 

gives forth an almost bizarre luxuriance ; borers 
multiply the Roman wells ; the waters of the 
Gebels are canalised, carrying their currents 
everywhere ; while the pinnacles of lofty factory 
chimneys cut the horizon. At Zanzur, at Gharian, 
at Imsellata, at Derna, stand lovely Italian villas 
surrounded by palms, and on their loggias we see 
our beautiful women enjoying the evening air 
amid masses of jasmine." 



CHAPTER VII 

POLITICAL ITALY 

ITALY can fairly claim to be the most demo- 
cratic nation in the world, and this will be 
supported enthusiastically by practically every 
Britisher who is privileged to live among the 
Italians. In fact, British residents never tire of 
expatiating upon this theme, although it has been 
varied of late by the most fierce denunciation 
of the " people at home," who appear not only 
unwilling to subscribe so enthusiastically to Italian 
virtues, but actually have ventured to condemn 
the Italians as the enemies of civilisation and 
progress. It is not sufficient to explain to these 
zealous defenders of Italy that the anti- Italian 
feeling is, where it is conscious and positive, 
confined to a limited area, and for the rest is 
founded upon ignorance ; they will not listen to 
the slightest excuse. And the longer one lives in 
Italy, the more patent does it become that these 
outlanders who have made their homes here are 
X3 «93 



194 Tripoli and Young Italy 

absolutely right. The utter absence of class dis- 
tinctions is at first a little bewildering to a person 
coming from a country where, whatever preten- 
sions it may have to democracy, a sharp look-out 
must be kept so as not to transgress the niceties 
of class distinctions. Prince or peasant, master 
or man, mistress or maid, it is all the same 
among the Italians; and it is not necessarily 
derogatory to the prince or flattery of the peasant 
to say that very often it is difficult to make out 
" which is which." The employee has as much 
sense of his own dignity as his employer, and 
any mistress of a household will tell you that 
as there is not the slightest trace of servility 
in Italian servants it is absolutely impossible to 
adopt towards them the attitude which is deemed 
essential, say, by British ladies, " to keep the 
servants in their place." This fact is one that 
immediately strikes the foreign visitor, and when 
he has lived longer in the land and become 
acquainted with all phases of life, he will find 
that the same spirit pervades the whole national 
life, public as well as private. The Italians are 
born democrats. 

Victor Emmanuel is a most fitting head of 
this democracy, a sovereign who by the quiet 
force of his character has won the general esteem 



Political Italy 195 

of his subjects, and who by his undoubtedly 
Liberal opinions has covered with confusion the 
anti-Monarchists, who find themselves exceedingly 
embarrassed because Victor Emmanuel does not 
do the things for which as a rule monarchy is 
condemned. He was brought up with very 
strict and severe views of duty under the eyes 
of his mother and General Osio, an austere but 
cultured tutor. He adopted a military career 
in the most democratic branch of the Army, the 
Infantry, and worked exceedingly hard, rising 
from captain to the command of the Army Corps 
of Naples. This beautiful city, with its seductive 
life of gaiety, however, could not lure the quiet 
and almost ascetic Royal soldier from his military 
duties. It was not a surprise, therefore, that 
Victor Emmanuel took up the kingship without 
any ostentatious display, and settled down im- 
mediately to his more onerous duties instead of 
promoting great pomp and entertainment. He 
was warmly seconded in his policy of work and 
quietness by Queen Elena, who is looked upon in 
Italy as a model Queen and mother. While Victor 
Emmanuel was supposed to be poring over his 
magnificent collection of coins, but in reality was 
applying himself assiduously to the study of the 
social problems of his countr)% and keeping in 



196 Tripoli and Young Italy 

embarrassingly close touch with his Ministers, the 
Queen was devoting herself to her children, her 
poetry, painting, and sculpture, and having merely 
a few intimate friends to five o'clock tea. When 
Court functions were resumed, there was only the 
quietest display, which, as can be imagined, was 
a disappointment to some people. During the 
terrible catastrophe at Reggio and Messina it was 
universally acknowledged that the Queen rose to 
heights of abnegation and self-sacrifice to which 
few women have been able to rise, and which 
undoubtedly impressed the whole world. When 
he visited the cities of Italy, the King also de- 
precated any great receptions, and the rule has 
been that rather than towns being the poorer 
for a Royal visit, they are the gainers by some 
gift from their King, who in his own personal 
appearance shows his contempt for the wonderful 
variety of rich uniforms which some people think 
are necessary to kingship. 

All doubt as to his politics were set at rest 
when he put into the Government Giolitti and 
Zanardelli ; and that this was not a sporadic out- 
break of Liberalism was soon evident when 
Victor Emmanuel commenced his policy of sur- 
prise visits. Ministries, the Army and Navy, 
schools, barracks, hospitals, were stirred into 



Political Italy 197 

greater activity and efficiency because of his direct 
personal interest, and because they knew not 
the day nor the hour when this Royal inspector 
would descend upon them. Of course these 
methods are not so necessary nowadays, because 
the King, aided by the more efficient Ministers he 
has had of late years, has succeeded in communi- 
cating his own enthusiasm for efficiency to all 
branches of the Administration. Above all, Victor 
Emmanuel has succeeded in winning the esteem 
of the Socialists, who are generally reckoned to 
be irreconcilable. He was reported to be very 
disappointed when the Socialist leader, Bissolati, 
declined the offer of the Ministry of Justice. 
In 191 o Enrico Ferri, speaking on the Capitol 
in the presence of the King, pointed out that 
the Italian monarchy was a child of the Revolu- 
tion, and declared that, with the stigma of divine 
right removed, the principle of a really democratic 
monarchy was not incompatible with Socialism. 

It might almost be said that the Government 
suffers from too much democracy, for, glancing 
at the medley of parties and groups in Monte- 
citorio, it really seems as if the motto is " Every 
man his own political party." The Government 
is nominally Liberal, but its policy is really of 
a more advanced order owing to the great 



198 Tripoli and Young Italy 

influence exercised by the few strong Radicals 
in the Cabinet. The Liberals are slightly anti- 
Clerical and anti-Socialist, but for the present, 
because of Giolitti's promise to effect electoral 
reform, the Government bloc is maintained by 
the support of the Socialists. Otherwise the 
forty Socialist members are usually numbered 
among the Opposition. There is a band of 
twenty-five Republicans in the Extreme Left, 
who are in opposition, but they have very little 
influence. The Centre is occupied by the con- 
stitutional Opposition, headed by Sonnino, but 
this group has dwindled of late. In the Centre 
also is the Catholic group, which is also without 
influence, and generally to be found supporting 
the Government, whether Liberal or Conser- 
vative. On the Right is the group of the 
Liberal-Conservatives of the old school, acknow- 
ledging as leader Luzzatti. There are other 
small groups and independent deputies, present- 
ing altogether one of the most curious Parlia- 
mentary make-ups in the world. And yet there 
has been a decided improvement of late years. 
Whatever may be the drawbacks of a two-party 
system, they are nothing like so formidable as 
those of a twenty-party system, and under the 
circumstances it is surprising that any legis 




GIOVANNI GIOLITTI, 
Prime Minister. 



198] 



Political Italy 199 

lation is accomplished at all. Giolitti, Radical 
as he is, admits that it would conduce to the 
better functioning of the Parliamentary institu- 
tions if without delay there were formed a true 
Conservative Party — but only on the condition 
that it unfurled its banner and openly declared 
the programme it intended to follow if called 
to take charge of the Government. 

Under these circumstances it is necessary that 
there should be a strong man at the head of affairs, 
and the Italians have certainly got that strong 
man in Giolitti. His personality dominates the 
Chamber : he has a genius for handling men. 
One element of his strength is that he looks 
upon power as a duty, and not as a satisfaction 
for his amour propre. He has never been keen 
to govern, and to the alarm of his friends he 
is always over-ready to abandon his post if it 
can be shown that others will do better. When 
he has been returned to power, it has always 
been by the force of circumstances and against 
his personal inclinations. But when in office he 
has never shown the slightest doubt as to his own 
fitness ; and his confidence in his own capacity 
has begotten confidence in his followers. He 
is a Parliamentarian of the first order, his 
strength in this respect lying in his quick 



200 Tripoli and Young Italy 

and clear vision of political situations. He is 
no waster of words, and knows how to put his 
case succinctly and forcibly, with now and then 
a touch of good-natured irony, which, however, 
never descends to sarcasm. He was known 
as a great fencer in his youth, and there is 
very much of the quick parry and thrust in his 
debating. He is undoubtedly in the first rank 
of European statesmen, and it is solely due to his 
personal power that the many refractory groups 
are induced to get any progressive legislation 
done at all. He has excellent judgment, however, 
in knowing exactly how much he may ask — but 
then he insists upon getting it. He has grown 
used to the charges that he is handing over 
the Government to the Socialists, remarking that 
such charges come strangely from those who 
make a loud boast of being followers of Cavour, 
who made alliances with the most extreme Left. 
Liberalism, he says, is fatally destined to fall into 
decay and despair if it closes the door against 
help from a more advanced party. Even the 
war has not lost the Government the Socialist 
support. Indeed, such men as de Felice, who 
has himself been to Tripoli, are enthusiastic 
supporters of the new policy. 

Of the other Ministers the most distinguished 



Political Italy 201 

are the Marquis di San Giuliano, Foreign 
Minister, and the Hon. Francesco Nitti, Minister 
for Agriculture and Commerce. San Giuliano 
was a strenuous fighter when younger, and he 
had tremendous battles in Sicily with the Social- 
ists on the one hand and the Conservatives 
on the other. He entered Parliament as a 
member of the Left, and has been more or less 
of a Radical ever since. He has been a con- 
sistent supporter of the Triple Alliance, both 
as a deputy and as a Minister. His superior 
knowledge of foreign affairs is acknowledged by 
all parties. When Ambassador in Great Britain, 
by his charm of character and his great scholar- 
ship, combined with this expert knowledge of 
international politics, he did much to enhance 
Italian prestige. Until a few years ago the 
Italian Foreign Office had admittedly little weight 
in the councils of Europe, but under Tittoni 
and especially San Giuliano a thorough re- 
organisation of the Diplomatic and Consular 
Corps has been effected, and Italy's representa- 
tives abroad have now no reason to be ashamed 
of their country's equipment in this respect. 

Nitti might be said to be an ideal Minister 
of Agriculture and Commerce. Besides having 
an international reputation as a political economist, 



202 Tripoli and Young Italy 

and being a capable statistician, he is one of 
the most witty and trenchant critics in Parlia- 
ment. Some of the fiercest battles in the House 
of recent years have been fought round his 
head, but he has always been imperturbable, 
preserving the utmost good humour, and he has 
always gained his point. The insurance monoply, 
when it becomes law, will owe much to Nitti's 
scientific exposition and his splendid debating 
capacity. 

As to Spingardi, the Minister for War, and 
Leonardi-Cattolica, Minister of Marine, one need 
only point to the present acknowledged effi- 
ciency and good organisation of Italy's fighting 
forces. But in this respect it is necessary also 
to mention the splendid organising work done by 
General Pollio, Chief of the General Staff and 
by Vice-Admiral Mirabello and Vice-Admiral 
Bettolo. Facta, the Minister of Finance, was 
perhaps handicapped by having to succeed 
several exceptional financiers, but he has well 
maintained the high reputation which Italian 
Government finance has gained within recent 
years. He was previously a Secretary of State 
together with Giolitti, and was then made 
Minister of Finance by Luzzatti, Giolitti con- 
tinuing as Secretary of State. Facta is looked 



Political Italy 203 

upon as one of the men of the future. Tedesco, 
the Treasurer, adds to his great culture an 
extraordinary capacity for work, which he first 
showed as Minister of Public Works. Political 
prophets appear to have marked out Salandra 
and Bertolini for promotion, and even go so far 
as to say that they are future Prime Ministers. 
The former was a Minister several times under 
Sonnino and the Governments supported by 
Sonnino. The latter has been Minister of 
Public Works under Giolitti, and has shown 
promise of great capacity. 

Sonnino, the leader of the Opposition, is a 
man of profound studies and special competence 
in finance, but he is not a Parliamentarian, and 
his ability to deal with the diverse elements to 
be found at Montecitorio was never sufficient 
to allow him ever to remain head of the 
Government for more than three months. His 
following, because they are always " agin the 
Government," whatever the question may be, 
and also because they are without a programme, 
have earned for themselves the title of "His 
Majesty's Anarchists." Luzzatti also is an 
acknowledged financial expert. He has strenu- 
ously defended Italy against foreign critics who 
make such a lot of talk about Italian corruption, 



204 Tripoli and Young Italy 

and he has especially turned the tables on the 
English critics with an expos^ of corruption in 
the House of Commons. Leonida Bissolati, 
leader of the Socialists, is an undoubted states- 
man, who pursues his policy with a commendable 
freedom from prejudice. Turati, another capable 
Socialist leader, is of the irreconcilable type, 
sometimes opposing his own party. Enrico Ferri 
has now practically retired from militant politics. 

The present Prime Minister has set his heart 
on at least two pieces of constructive legislation, 
which, if his admitted power in dealing with the 
heterogeneous crowd at Montecitorio does not 
fail him, he will succeed in putting on the 
statute-book. The first is State monopoly of 
life insurance, and the second is a measure 
giving manhood suffrage. Nitti has charge of 
the former measure, and he caused dismay among 
the reactionaries when, in the discussion on the 
last Budget, he announced that the Government 
intended to effect this State monopoly of insur- 
ance without loss of time. The Government, in 
fact, has nailed it to the mast, and is determined 
that it shall go through, in spite of its being called 
a revolutionary and Socialistic measure, Nitti 
said it was Fortis who, when Prime Minister, 
first suggested that he should draw up a scheme 



Political Italy 205 

that would effect such a monopoly, and he 
added that Giolitti had pressed the study of 
the problem upon several of his (Nitti's) pre- 
decessors in the Ministry of Agriculture and 
Industr}'. Since Nitti made his announcement 
a Bill has been fashioned and is well through 
its committee stage, having by its sheer practical 
merits won a great deal of support among the 
members. The stage it has reached now is 
about equal to a second reading in the House 
of Commons. The fact that at present the 
greater part of the life insurance in Italy is 
done with foreign houses, and an enormous 
amount of capital goes out of the country in 
this way, has been a strong argument in its 
favour. Nitti received an avalanche of letters 
from the clerks and officials employed in these 
insurance offices, protesting against the measure, 
as it would mean that they would be thrown 
out of employment. But later came letters from 
many of the same men to state that they had 
been ordered to write the previous protests, and 
that they really would welcome State control. 
One poor argument against the Bill is that 
no such monopoly exists in any other country ; ^ 

' It exists in New Zealand, not only for life insurance, but also for 
accident insurance. 



2o6 Tripoli and Young Italy 

and this simply infuriates the present Italian 
Ministry, for if they have endeavoured to make 
their own and other people understand anything, 
it is that Italy is now old enough to stand on 
her own feet and think for herself — and that 
she is going to do so. It has been said in 
the past, with reference to what has been 
termed the mental servility of the Italians, that 
" Ours is a strange country, because those who 
inhabit the patrie of the Caesars and the 
Antonines dare not have an idea without some- 
body's permission." Nitti declares : "If you 
don't mind, we will have an idea without any- 
body's permission." This remark is characteristic 
of the whole Italian attitude, to-day. Referring 
to the interests ranged in battle-array against the 
Government, Nitti said : " We have been invited 
to dare, and we are going to dare with this 
measure." 

Giolitti has adopted the same fighting attitude 
whenever he has referred to the measure, and he 
selected the occasion of a banquet held in his 
honour at Turin — it was a political banquet 
which nearly all "political Italy" attended — to 
get in a few straight home-truths. In the 
virulent campaign being made against the in- 
surance project, its enemies have even gone so far 



Political Italy 207 

as to assert that it is an attempt against property 
and the beginning of the monopolisation of in- 
dustries and absolute collectivism. But Giolitti 
pointed out that life insurance is not property 
and is not industry — it is simply speculation on 
a special form of savings, and often a very 
bad kind of speculation. No private insurance 
society can guarantee that it will meet its 
liabilities when they fall due, as those who have 
invested their savings in insurance policies some- 
times find to their cost. And in insurance Italy 
is really an organised exportation of national 
savings, three-fifths of the whole insurance total 
being in the hands of foreign institutions. 
There is not the slightest reason why the State 
should not have the use of this capital, and the 
State alone is in a position to give absolute 
security. 

Giolitti described as scandalous the speculative 
character of some of these foreign insurance 
houses. He instanced one as having made profits 
of 40 per cent., another iii per cent., and one 
as even handing 122 per cent, interest to its 
shareholders. And when some of these profit- 
makers claimed that the Government was violat- 
ing their rights, he replied that the Government 
could recognise no "right to exercise usury on 



2o8 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the savings of the poor people." A strong point 
in favour of the new proposal is that it is not to 
have a fiscal character ; while providing the State 
with a very useful source of capital, the profit 
balances will be devoted to funds for old-age and 
invalidity pensions. 

If the proposal to monopolise insurance gave 
a shock to the reactionaries, the Ministerial 
measure of manhood suffrage is for Italy a really 
revolutionary proposal ; and it has aroused the most 
violent opposition. It proposes to give the vote 
to all men who have reached the age of thirty 
years, which means that the electorate will be 
increased at one stroke from three millions to 
eight millions. The question as to what effect 
this will have on the character of Montecitorio 
provides an interesting subject of speculation. 
The literary test is to be abolished, and the 
tens of thousands of men who so far have been 
debarred from voting because they could not 
write their names on the ballot-papers will 
be admitted to the vote. The opponents of 
universal suffrage have immediately produced 
the old objection, that this admission of the 
illiterates will mean the triumph of ignorance 
and a set-back to progress. The antiquated 
character of the argument has not prevented it 



Political Italy 209 

from being " trotted out " again to do duty 
against the advance of democracy. 

Giolitti himself is in charge of the measure, 
and he certainly does not underrate the forces 
arrayed against him. In season and out, he is 
inculcating into the Italians that they ought to 
be ashamed of themselves for being the last 
country in Europe to extend its electoral suffrage. 
He points out that, except in this respect, there 
has been progress all round : that industry and 
agriculture have prospered wonderfully, and labour 
has been able to wrest for itself better condi- 
tions, which in many instances amount to nearly 
a doubling of wages. Under these circum- 
stances, he urges, it is not right that a nation 
which rose out of a revolution, and was con- 
stituted by plebiscites, should after fifty years 
continue to exclude from political life the most 
numerous class of society — those who give their 
sons for the defence of the country, and upon 
whom falls the largest measure of taxation for 
the maintenance of the State. Out of every loo 
men of the qualifying age in Italy only 32 are 
electors, while in other countries the percentage 
of electors among those qualified ranges from 
60 to 98. 

The measure is in two parts. The first pro- 
14 



210 Tripoli and Young Italy 

vides against the corruption that takes place at 
elections, and the violence, which is often resorted 
to for the intimidation of voters. The second 
provides for the extension of the suffrage to 
all men of thirty years, of good character, 
who have done their military service. In 
fixing this age-limit the Government say that 
they are moved not only by considerations of 
social justice, but also by a conviction that 
the majority of the men who have had this 
ripe experience of life are no whit inferior in 
rectitude and good citizenship to those who have 
learned to read and write. Many opponents 
are stating that the measure does not extend 
the suffrage enough ; but Giolitti, who is practi- 
cally staking his reputation upon the measure, 
so determined is he that it shall pass, does not 
conceal the fact that he regards such objections as 
a deliberate attempt to wreck the measure. He 
reminds the country that in 190 1-2 when he dared 
to follow with firmness a policy of impartiality 
in the struggle between capital and labour, he was 
branded as the enemy of capital, the demolisher 
of private property, and one who would overturn 
the institutions of the country. The position to- 
day is a similar one, he says, and he advises his 
opponents to save their breath for the time when 



^: 



Political Italy 211 

the real fight on the suffrage will take place in 
Parliament. There is a strong women's move- 
ment in Italy, and their agitation for the vote 
has received great sympathy from the political 
leaders. However, at present the main energies of 
the women are being devoted rather to making 
women more fit generally for the duties of citizen- 
ship than to the mere getting of the vote. 

It has been the custom, especially of British 
critics, to fall upon the Italians hip and thigh for 
the corruption prevailing in their Governmental 
administration. Indeed, to glance through the 
articles and books written a few years ago,, 
one would think that these lovers of Italy were 
smitten by an epidemic of extreme morality. 
They brought their "million-power magnify ing- 
glasses," and diligently dissected Italy's poor 
body-politic, and then set up such a howl of 
execration, that even the gentle Italians were 
persuaded that they must be the wickedest set 
of scamps on the face of the earth. And they 
gave credence to these critics' disproportionate 
diagnoses by going publicly into sack-cloth and 
ashes, and bemoaning that no good could come 
out of Italy. But after a while the tables were 
turned upon these reformers from outside, who 
were blind to the good points of Italy, or to the 



212 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
extraordinary difficulties she had to face, and 
could only see what they were looking for — 
facts with which to bolster up their case. Some 
writers have collected together all the little bits 
of " corruption" discovered over a period of many 
years, until they have got something like a 
formidable case, and then have produced this 
collection as if it were just a snapshot of the ex- 
isting Italian Government. One wonders what 
would happen if these critics turned their 
magnifiers on things at home. Perhaps they 
have done so, and have been dismayed by the 
stupendous task which confronted them. 

Ten years ago, however, Messrs. Thomas Okey 
and Bolton King wrote very magnanimously that 
" it is, however, easy to exaggerate the extent of the 
corruption. No Parliament is free from it. At 
all events, the Italian Chamber has fewer Parlia- 
mentary guinea-pigs than the House of Commons, 
perhaps because there are fewer opportunities for 
company promotion ; there is far less manipula- 
tion of tariffs for private ends than in the United 
States, no more bribery of localities than in 
Canada." After this, no doubt, the Italians 
felt that they might lift up their heads and 
breathe again. It is not denied that there was 
corruption, and that there may still be traces of 



Political Italy 213 

it, yet when one studies impartially the nature 
of the task set before this young country, her 
poverty, and her miserable equipment, honestly 
one must marvel that there was not more corrup- 
tion, and that Italy has been able to accomplish 
so much that is good. The greater number of 
Italian political men have died poor. Any one 
who knows Italy intimately, knows that, compared 
with other countries, she is scrupulously moral in 
her public life, and so ruthless is the condemna- 
tion of any who are in the slightest degree 
suspected of wrong-doing that many innocent 
suffer with the guilty, for whom not the slightest 
pity is shown. 

Education, or the comparative lack of it, has 
always been a sore point with the Italians. 
They are most sensitive indeed to the charges 
of illiteracy foreign critics commonly pile up 
against them ; and as year after year and 
Parliament after Parliament went by without any 
apparent improvement of the educational system, 
it really did look as if the ruling classes cared 
nothing for the intellectual well-being of the 
poorer people. But here again the critics were 
often unfair in their condemnation, for little regard 
was paid to Italy's peculiar difficulties, and they 
were sparing in their praise, if they vouchsafed 



214 Tripoli and Young Italy 

any, of the really good points in her favour. When 
United Italy and her leaders set about the build- 
ing up of a national system of government, the 
English model was the one generally followed, and, 
without making due allowance for the difference 
in development of the people in the matter of 
governmental control, institutions which favoured 
local autonomy were provided for Italy. It was 
thought that there could be no danger in this, 
because the cities, at any rate, had for centuries 
been accustomed to the exercise of local govern- 
ment. But while the cities, because of the neces- 
sity for industrial developments, and their closer 
contact with the world outside, could be trusted 
to look after their own affairs, with a due regard 
to the demands of progress, the smaller communes 
were, of course, absolutely unfitted, often through 
sheer poverty, to take any responsibility. In many 
districts even roads were not considered necessary, 
and that part of public duty which was most im- 
portant — education — was sadly neglected. True, 
the Italians were no worse than the English in this 
respect — any progress made in British education 
has been against the bitter opposition of the local 
" bumbles," whose policy has always been to 
" save the rates " — yet the fact remains that 
that backwardness of which the Italian nation is 



Political Italy 215 

honestly ashamed was the inevitable result of 
entrusting the education of the youth of the 
countryside to men whose only use for children 
was as field-labourers. 

But to-day there has been a revolution accom- 
plished in Italian education. Conservative and 
Liberal statesmen alike were determined to make 
the communes pay for education whether they 
liked it or not ; and, of course, the Socialists were 
only too delighted. Under the Sonnino Ministry 
a Bill was drawn up by Daneo, the Minister of 
Public Instruction, with the aid of his most able 
Chief of Department, Camillo Corradini, which 
made education practically a national charge, and 
took away from the communes any power to hinder 
local education by withholding funds. Naturally, 
it aroused great opposition. There was the 
same outcry against it as in England, about its 
taking away the sacred rights of popular control ; 
but when, in the whirligig of politics, Giolitti came 
to power, the Bill had to go through, and was 
ably steered among the shoals of opposition by the 
new Minister for Public Instruction, Credaro. Pro- 
vincial councils have been set up, very much after 
the type of the British County Education Com- 
mittees ; and this will ensure a uniform policy, and 
fairness to the poor and backward districts. But 



2i6 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the Government has kept control of the financial 
machinery, so as to prevent any local cheese- 
paring policy. It was obvious to the educational 
reformers that it was not enough to cram the 
child's brain while its little stomach lacked food, 
and measures for feeding the poorer children are 
being adopted which will put to shame some cities 
in Britain, where, while hundreds of thousands of 
pounds are spent upon costly school buildings, a 
penny a meal is begrudged to hundreds of children 
who have to go to school without any breakfast. 
So the charities have been taken in hand and are to 
be worked in an organised uniform manner along- 
side of the educational work. An extensive library 
movement is being actively pushed forward ; 
every class in the school is being provided with 
its own exclusive library. School savings-banks, 
gymnasia, manual instruction, continuation schools, 
schools for soldiers while doing military service, 
and schools for adults, are all included in the 
scheme ; and the next generation should see a 
wonderful advance made, and the population of 
the poorer districts will have reason to be glad 
that the intellectual education of their bairns was 
taken out of the hands of their taskmasters. 
Another important advance is the strengthening 
of the factory laws, which will, after July this year, 



Political Italy 217 

prevent boys and girls under fifteen years of age 
being employed in factories unless they have 
passed the sixth standard. The secondary-school 
system in the cities compares very favourably 
with that of other countries ; great advances have 
been made on the scientific and technical side, 
and there is, by the way, a growing demand for 
better provision for the teaching of English. 

In the South, even now, before the new 
Act can begin to have any influence, substantial 
and successful efforts are being made to wipe out 
the stain of illiteracy. At the same time, as the 
editor of a Roman daily paper, who is a close 
student of the South, remarked to the writer, 
it must be borne in mind that it is not because 
the inhabitants have not been taught to write 
that they cannot write — for both at school and 
afterwards, while doing their service, they have 
acquired that art — but because afterwards they 
find absolutely no use for it, and their penman- 
ship vanishes through disuse. The {>easants, 
of course, work all the hours of daylight, and 
do not get the time for reading, but there 
are many successful commercial men, too, some 
controlling businesses worth forty or fifty thousand 
pounds, who can neither read nor write, and con- 
duct their transactions only by word of mouth. 



2i8 Tripoli and Young Italy 

The emigration factor, however, is working for 
good in this respect. The men and women, who 
have been away to other lands for a few years, 
come back with their savings to the home country, 
and they simply cannot rest without newspapers 
and reading matter. So that from among the 
people themselves there is coming a welcome 
movement towards higher intellectual attainments. 
In the department of agricultural education the 
Italian Government is making great progress. 
Even the elementary school has included in its 
curriculum lessons giving elementary notions of 
agriculture, while some technical schools have an 
agricultural section. In the Universities of Rome 
and Bologna there are faculties of Agriculture ; 
there is an Experimental Agricultural Institute 
at Perugia ; there are schools of agriculture at 
Milan and Portici. Altogether there are twenty- 
five schools of practical agriculture, besides special 
schools for viticulture, pomology, zootechnique, 
cheese-making, and agrarian entomology. Some 
fifty valuable scholarships exist'for practical study. 
The Ministry of War gives special encourage- 
ment to the instruction of soldiers in agriculture, 
and this is already bearing fruit in Tripoli, where 
the soldiers are filling in their time by the culti- 
vation of the soil. There are about seventy 



Political Italy 219 

itinerary professorships, some of which are 
maintained directly by the Government. The 
lecturers go from one district to another giving 
instruction by direct experiments in the field to 
the peasant farmers, showing them how to get 
the best results. In Florence important work 
has been carried on for some time by the Institute 
of Colonial Agriculture, from which students are 
now going to the new colony. Of the agricul- 
tural schools for soldiers the best known is that 
at Rome directed by Professor Vittoria Nazari, 
of the Ministry of Agriculture. 

The problems of public health which confronted 
the young nation might well have daunted the 
experienced reformers of older countries. In 
the good old days of the Church regime no such 
information as vital statistics was deemed neces- 
sary. A lot of people died, and on some occa- 
sions considerably more than on others ; of what 
avail to trouble about "death-rates"? The 
people were dead, and that. was all there was 
to say. The first death-rate to be made out 
was in 1863, showing a mortality of 30*90 per 
thousand. In 1887 it was still 27*95 ; but by 
1909 it had been reduced to 20' 30. In Rome, 
although her hospitals catered for the sick of the 
notoriously unhealthy Campagna, the death-rate 



220 Tripoli and Young Italy 

in 1907 was only 18 "So per thousand. From being 
one of the most unhealthy countries in the world, 
Italy has now come to have one of the cleanest 
bills of health. In 1882 she had 374,229 people 
over seventy-five years old, and in 1901 she 
had no less than 551,597* of whom no less than 
10,000 were over ninety years of age. 

The great scourge of Italy was malaria, the pre- 
sence of which not only rendered vast territories 
incapable of cultivation, but carried off the people 
by the thousand. In 1879 in the hospitals of 
Rome alone there were 23,000 malaria cases ; 
and in 1898 out of 8,258 communities, 2,823 had 
malaria in a serious form, while 2,025 had visita- 
tions of a milder degree. The average deaths in 
a year from the disease were 15,800, while in the 
country around and south of Rome there were 
56o,ooo cases yearly. Two million hectares of 
land were rendered absolutely uninhabitable. In 
1900 began the scientific war against the disease, 
the case against the mosquito having been proved 
most conclusively. The Government established 
a monopoly of quinine, and employers were 
obliged by law to distribute it free among their 
workpeople, and see that they took it ; and liberal 
supplies were doled out and forced upon the poor. 
The malaria districts were mapped out for the 



Political Italy 221 

war, and the King gave great help to the expedi- 
tions of medical men and nurses sent out to take 
charge. Suspected cases were hardly allowed 
out of sight. Mosquito-screens were ordered 
for doors and windows, and where the people 
were too poor to purchase them, the public sub- 
scribed funds to fix them up. The happy result 
was that while before the quinine campaign 50 
per cent, of the population in the affected areas 
had malaria, afterwards there were only 4 per 
cent, of cases. In the Campagna Romana alone 
the percentage of cases was reduced from 31 in 
1900 to 2 in 1908. 

Another dreaded scourge of the Italians, 
especially in the valley of Po, is the disease 
pellagra, which in extreme cases eventually pro- 
duces madness. The disease is attributed to the 
eating of bad qualities of maize, a staple article 
of food in the affected area. The Government 
also promoted a vigorous campaign against this 
trouble, and, besides cultivating considerable areas 
of the best maize, gave assistance to private 
growers, with the consequence that much of the 
bad quality of maize has ceased to be grown. 
In addition, stoves were built to ensure the proper 
drying of the maize, which is not always effected 
by the picturesque custom of festooning the corn- 



222 Tripoli and Young Italy 

cobs around the loggia and lintels of the houses. 
Communal kitchens were also introduced, so that 
the quality of the food is now far higher than 
formerly. In 1881 there were no less than 
104,067 cases of pellagra, but by 1908 this num- 
ber had been reduced to 36,339 ; and while in 
1889 the cases of madness directly caused by this 
disease were 901, in 1908 there was a reduction 
to 335 cases. 

The authorities, however, have carried their 
" prevention-better-than-cure " policy much far- 
ther. The badness and paucity of the water-sup- 
plies in Italy had a world-wide notoriety, and the 
stigma still rests to-day, because, on the strength 
of a Baedeker's warning of thirty years ago, it 
is still the " correct thing " among timid visitors 
to boycott the water-bottle, and in many cases 
quite prominent teetotalers, when in Italy, have 
felt "driven" to Chianti out of fear for what 
might befall. But the Italian cities now have 
water-supplies second to none, and in the country 
districts huge schemes have been carried out 
whereby, with the exception of one part of Italy, 
where a stupendous undertaking is at present in 
hand, the country districts are now provided with 
abundant supplies of the best drinking-water. In 
this particular respect alone the progress made 




SIDNEY SONNINO, 
Leader of the Opi)osition. 



222] 



Political Italy 223 

is almost incredible considering the obstacles in 
the way. 

Even as late as 1902, the number of recruits 
for the Army turned down as unfit was no less 
than 50 per cent. So there began a great 
epidemic of physical culture, drill, and sports. 
The local authorities provided gymnasia ; boys 
brigades were started, and physical instruction 
was introduced into the schools ; and there is 
now to be seen a wonderful change in the 
quality of the recruits who present themselves. 
The manner in which they have acquitted 
themselves in the war — for many of the least 
experienced troops were sent to the front — has 
shown the results of the efforts to improve the 
public physique and health. The comparative 
absence of sickness among the troops has been 
one of the many marvels of the war. It is 
interesting to note that so keenly has the en- 
thusiasm for sports seized upon the youth that 
in very self-defence the Church has been forced 
to sanction sports among its theological students, 
and, sad to relate, fears have been entertained that 
some of these youths are showing a greater love for 
their athletic than for their theological exercises. 

There has been a remarkable increase in the 
population, concomitant with the all-round pro- 



224 Tripoli and Young Italy 

gress. The successful fight against disease and 
the lowering of the death-rate have resulted in 
the saving of a quarter of a million lives annually, 
and the annual excess of births over deaths is 
400,000. In 187 1 the population of Italy was 
25,964,300, while the returns of the census of 
June 10, 191 1, give the total as 35,959,077, an 
increase of 6"8i per cent, since the census of 1901, 
and this despite a loss of 500,000 a year through 
emigration. At this rate, in fifteen years the 
Italian population will exceed that of France. 
All the regions (the old compartimenti) show 
increases varying from 12*51 for Venetia to 2*07 
per cent, for Umbria, except Basilicata and the 
Abruzzi, where emigration to America has re- 
duced the population by 3'58 and 0*97 per cent. 
respectively. Chieti, Benevento, Caltanisetta, 
and Campobasso — all in the South — show slight 
decreases, while the other provincial capitals have 
gained during the period, the most noteworthy in- 
creases being those of Foggia 44 percent., Catania 
41-8, Bari 33*6, Grosseto 197, Naples 28-3, Turin 
27*4, Syracuse 267, Udine 25*5. Naples heads the 
list of the thirteen larger cities of Italy with 709,376 
inhabitants; then come Rome (616,790), Milan 
(602,093), Turin (418,666), Palermo (336,340), 
Genoa (265,082), and Florence (234,819). 



CHAPTER VIII 
ECONOMIC ITALY 

IF the world received a severe shock when 
Italy declared war on Turkey, perhaps a 
still bigger shock followed when it was discovered 
that Italy had the money ready to pay for the 
war; that, instead of being the "poverty-stricken 
Italy " of tradition, she was actually taking front 
rank among the nations of the earth for financial 
soundness and commercial progress. But even 
when the fallaciousness of the old-fashioned 
theories about Italy's corruption and decay was 
demonstrated in black and white at the Turin 
Exhibition by her capable Minister of Commerce, 
the Hon. Francesco Nitti, there were actually a 
few people who did not hesitate to suggest that 
Italy's financial statements had been "cooked" 
in order to keep up her credit. The ex-Finance 
Minister, Luzzatti, who has been largely responsi- 
ble for Italy's financial recovery, has adequately 
dealt with these unscrupulous critics. Yet there 
15 «5 



226 Tripoli and Young Italy 

is really some excuse for the general surprise 
and incredulity : for the rapid progress which has 
been made in the last few years is marvellous. 

Speaking at Oxford in 1909, on the occasion 
of the conferment upon him of an honorary 
doctor's degree, the Marquis di San Giuliano, 
the present Foreign Minister, who was at that 
time the Italian Ambassador, said : " When in 
1 86 1 the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, an 
arduous task devolved upon the young State. 
Everything was to be done ; everything was 
wanting : schools, Army, Navy, railways, and 
ports. Provinces, divided through long centuries 
of history, had to be not only politically and 
administratively united, but also morally blended 
together. A whole people had to be educated 
to the right use of free institutions, so suddenly 
acquired ; all that other nations had done in 
the long sequence of centuries had to be ac- 
complished in a few years. An enormous 
public debt, contracted during the wars of inde- 
pendence, a deficit in the revenue, and immense 
expenses, had to be faced in order to reach the 
same level as more advanced nations. The 
country was poor, her potential resources were 
not only undeveloped, but to some extent even 
unsuspected. It was essentially an agricultural 



Economic Italy 227 



country, and the methods of agriculture were 
conducted on purely traditional lines ; modern 
industry, so highly developed elsewhere, was in 
Italy almost entirely unknown." 

Although the need for heroism and martyrdom 
is not so great nowadays, yet the remarkable up- 
ward fight which has been made in industry' and 
agriculture shows that the Italian fibre has not 
become weakened or untrue to itself. San 
Giuliano is justified in his claim that no other 
nation having to face such obstacles has attained 
a corresponding progress ; and this claim does 
not rest upon mere assertion ; it is backed up by 
most convincing and surprising statistics, demon- 
strating Italy's industrial and commercial growth. 
The following brief statement shows the increase 
respectively in imports and exports : 





Imports. 


Exports. 




Lire. 


Lire. 


[n 1870 


895,717,683 


756,276,905 


„ 1880 . 


. 1,225,644,170 


1,132,289,192 


„ 1890 . 


• 1,377.286,433 


962,600,353 


„ 1900 . 


. 1,707,480,065 


1,354,799.753 


„ 1910 . 


• 3.235,765,637 


2,056,391,221 



The rise in the standard of living, consequent 
upon the increased wealth of the population, and 
the demand for raw materials brought about by 
the astonishing development of Italy as an in- 



228 Tripoli and Young Italy 

dustrial nation, account for the marked difference 
between the imports and exports. The growth 
of Italy's international commerce, however, 
appears more marvellous when it is compared 
with the relative progress made by other nations 
— nations considerably more fortunate in facilities 
and advantages for commercial exchange. 
Reduced to a " single numerical statement," and 
fixing loo as the index figure, the comparison in 
the growth of the imports and exports during the 
twenty years 1 890-1 910 was as follows : 



Imports. 






Exports, 




Italy . 


243 


United States 


226 


Belgium 


237 


Italy . 




224 


Germany . 


207 


Germany 




224 


United States . 


190 


Belgium 




204 


England . 


162 


England 




165 


France 


152 


France . 




161 



The first Budget of United Italy, in 1862, 
showed a revenue of 480,000,000 lire, and an ex- 
penditure of 826,000,000 lire. The deficit, which 
the difference in these two figures represents, 
was enough to handicap, if not to cripple, any 
struggling nation. Of course, the greater part 
of Italy's financial energies was then taken up 
in developing the necessary defensive forces. A 
meagre 15,000,000 lire was all that was available 



Economic Italy 229 

for education, and 22,000,000 lire for agriculture, 
industry, and commerce. Things did not im- 
prove much until after 1870, when the expenses 
of the war of 1866 had been practically cleared 
off, and the Government was enabled to lay the 
foundations of the present economic well-being. 
In 1875, thanks to the self-sacrifice, most will- 
ingly made, of the burdened taxpayers, the 
expenditure and revenue were made to balance 
for the first time. But this financial equilibrium 
was of only short duration. In 1881 there was 
a deficit of 53,000,000 lire, brought about by the 
abolition of the duty on the corn-grinding. 

Italy then turned and faced squarely the crying 
need for the improvement of her internal con- 
dition as well as of her Army and Navy ; and she 
then commenced that most trying struggle, which 
went on quietly but vigorously, and from which 
she has just emerged to surprise the world. The 
revenue, which in 1862 was but 480,000,000 lire, 
had reached 2,224,000,000 lire for 1911-12, and 
instead of an expenditure double the revenue, 
there is now a surplus of 74,000,000 lire, leaving 
out of account the railways, which did not 
exist in 1862. On the one item of education, 
instead of 15,000,000 lire, as in 1862, the present 
expenditure is 103,000,000 lire, a point over- 



230 Tripoli and Young Italy 

looked by those critics who have gone into the 
South to compare the provisions for education 
with those of Britain. There is no one more con- 
scious of the country's shortcomings in the matter 
of public education than are the Government 
authorities. They only ask to be judged by fair 
standards, and for a due acknowledgment of their 
enormous task and of what they have already 
accomplished. 

Looking over the figures of their financial 
development, the Italians have every reason to 
be proud, especially as the other great States 
of Europe have done nothing but increase their 
public debt. The effect that this financial success 
has had upon the Italians is well described by 
Thomas Okey and Bolton King : " The growth 
of national prosperity, and a careful system of 
public finance, at length permitted the long-desired 
conversion of the National Debt in 1906. The 
appreciation of the funds since 1900 has been 
steady and continuous; in 1905, the rendita 
reached at Rome the high-water mark of 106-59, 
and in the same year the exchange in London 
fell as low as 25*07 lire. Sonnino's warning cry 
of twenty years ago had its effect, when, during 
the two busy months of his Ministry, he was able, 
with Luzzatti's help, to mature a scheme which his 



Economic Italy 231 

successors executed. The Bill, introduced by 
Majorana, Giolitti's Minister of the Treasury, at 
three o'clock in the afternoon of June 29, was at 
four referred to a committee, whose report their 
chairman, Luzzatti, read to the Chamber at 4.40. 
Having briefly traced the upward course of the 
national credit, from the time when Italian paper 
was exchangeable for gold, only at 20 per cent, 
discount, to its actual position when it was worth 
more than gold, he was about to resume his seat 
as an ordinary deputy, when the whole assembly 
rose and united in a stirring tribute of praise to 
the father of the Italian risorgimento . Political 
opponents fell upon each other's necks in tears ; 
the Press and public galleries joined in the 
applause, which was renewed when the Bill, 
rapidly passing through all its stages, became 
law at eight o'clock. The conversion was a 
brilliant success. Of the net amount of Italian 
Consols, ;^3 2 7,640,000, subject to conversion, less 
than ;^ 1 50,000 was refunded, and the stock has 
ever since remained well over par. Italy is now 
the only country in Europe, save England and 
France, that can place 31/2 per cent, securities on 
the market at a premium, and the Banco d' Italia 
has won a high place among European banks of 
issue." 



232 Tripoli and Young Italy 

The savings-banks are a sure indication of the 
progress or otherwise of a nation ; and certainly 
the Italian savings-banks are eloquent on the 
subject of progress. From 1876, the year in 
which the Post Office Savings Banks, the true 
index of popular prosperity, began to function, 
the increase has been as follows : 

Lire. 

In 1876 2,443,403 

i88o 46,253,552 

1885 163,889,213 

1890 297.366,566 

189s 462,459,985 

1900 ...... 682,212,232 

1905 1,068,521,243 

1909 1,586,518,148 

The co-operative movement constitutes one 
of the principal co-efficients in Italy's economic 
progress. The societies are divided into three 
categories : credit banks, production and labour, 
and consumers' societies. In December 1909, 
the popular banks numbered 368, with a capital 
of 73,025,960 lire, while the co-operative and 
rural banks numbered 297, with a capital of 
34,743,311 lire. The fact that at the date men- 
tioned, the interest bearing deposits in the popular 
banks amounted to 243,389,490 lire, and the 
ordinary deposits to 409,866,128 lire, while thq 



Economic Italy 233 

respective figures for the co-operative banks were 
120,080,223 lire and 269,585,539 lire, is sufficient 
proof of the faith the public has in these 
institutions. The co-operative productive and 
labour societies numbered 547, and in the year 
1909 had undertaken contracts of the value 
of 13,500,000 lire. Italy's emigration has by 
no means been a dead loss to her. It is 
estimated that there are 5,500,000 Italians in 
foreign countries, and these send a considerable 
amount of their savings to the " old folks at 
home." In a normal year something like 
180,000,000 lire are sent through the Bank 
of Naples and international postal orders. It 
is difficult to estimate the remittances sent in 
registered letters, foreign money, and bills of 
exchange, but a very careful study made by 
the Commissariat of Emigration estimates the 
approximate amount sent home to the Father- 
land at not less than 500.000,000 lire a year. 

The industrial development of Italy is the 
more surprising because she lacks the minerals 
which are essential to manufactures. Without 
coal and ores, it was never dreamed possible 
that Italy would enter the industrial market. 
She was even without wood to raise steam, 
owing to the denudation of her forests, but with 



234 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the development of electric science her eyes 
were opened to the power stored up in her 
mountain torrents. It is a characteristic of the 
Italians, of which the conduct of the present 
war has furnished the latest illustrations, that 
the conception of an idea and the putting of 
it into practice are almost simultaneous with 
them. They do not wait to see what other 
people make of it ; they set to work themselves. 
Thus it was that Italy took the lead in the 
production of " white coal," as Professor Nitti 
termed her water-power, and the varied extent 
to which she has applied it is a revelation. 
The British Association has acknowledged her 
superiority in the domain of hydro-electricity, 
and her power plants have formed a model for 
the whole world. When the Americans desired 
to harness the Niagara, they had to come to 
Milan for their turbines. One of the most won- 
derful of these plants is that at the Tosa Falls in 
the Val Formazza, where the enormous mass of 
water under control produces over 60,000 horse 
power. In 19 10 no less that 762,999 horse 
power was being generated by hydro-electricity. 
The State pays an annual coal bill abroad of 
over 150,000,000 lire, and quite naturally the 
electrification of railways is being proceeded 



Economic Italy 235 

with, as fast and as far as the mountain torrents 
can be put under tribute. Silvanus Thompson, 
in recording his respect for the enterprise of 
the Italian electrical engineers, says they have 
struck out lines of their own instead of slavishly 
copying other nations, and have shown great 
courage, and ability in tackling the problems 
with which they were confronted. 

While in i860 most progressive nations had 
good railway systems, there were in Italy barely 
1,800 kilometres of railways : and these were 
principally in Piedmont, for the very good reason 
that the Vatican frowned on such new-fangled 
notions and discouraged their development farther 
South. There are now 16,989 kilometres, besides 
about 5, 000. kilometres of light steam railways and 
electric tramways. Linking up with these track 
systems there have been established during the 
past few years many private automobile lines 
with concessions from the Government. Up to 
two years ago there were sixty-two of these sub- 
sidiary lines in operation over roads aggregating 
2,944 kilometres. This new means of public trans- 
portation promises rapid development, and should 
prove of considerable educational and industrial 
benefit to the country, bringing inaccessible towns 
and villages in the rural and mountainous districts 



236 Tripoli and Young Italy 

into touch with the active life of the larger 
centres. Of the marine service, too, there has 
been a remarkable development, Italy possessing 
lines of first-class passenger-boats, and a large 
fleet of merchantmen. Shipbuilding is in a 
flourishing condition. For some time past, Genoa 
has surpassed Marseilles, although at present 
she cannot develop as fast as she might because 
there is not sufficient railway rolling-stock. Since 
the opening of the Simplon Tunnel there have 
been frequent deadlocks through congestion of 
traffic, but the authorities are dealing with the 
situation as quickly as they can, and Genoa 
will very soon become not only the greatest 
port in the Mediterranean, but one of the most 
important ports in the world. 

Contrary to the common idea, Italy does pro- 
duce other minerals besides sulphur, which, of 
course, is her chief extracting industry ; and 
while the total value of these minerals in 1909 
was 42,000,000 lire, in 1910 it had risen to 
80,000,000 lire. Besides sulphur the products 
were iron, brass, zinc, mercury, iron pyrites, 
petroleum, bituminous rock, etc. The manu- 
facture of sulphuric acid has gone up from 75,000 
quintals in 1865 to 5,897,120 quintals in 1909. 

With the improvement in industry came in- 



Economic Italy 237 

evitably a rise in wages, and the standard of 
life among Italian workmen to-day is far higher 
than it was twenty years ago. And with the 
opening up of the country places by road and 
rail there has been a corresponding improvement 
in the living of the agricultural peasant, hard 
as his lot still is. It is true that during recent 
years there have been many strikes, which 
manifest the discontent of the working-classes, 
but to those who can take a philosophic view 
of such occurrences they are only a sign of 
health. There are no strikes where the popu- 
lation has had the life ground out of it by bad 
government or bad management ; strikes show 
that the working-classes have reached that stage 
when they can appreciate and demand a higher 
standard of living. There are no strikes in 
backward countries, or during industrial depres- 
sion, for obvious reasons. The lively times they 
have had in the North of Italy during the last 
ten years are the surest indications of industrial 
progress. The organisation of labour has im- 
proved the condition of labour all round, and has 
had its due effect upon social legislation. 

As the Foreign Minister has pointed out : 
'* the war has furnished a pretext on the part 
of the foreign Press to publish statements ab- 



238 Tripoli and Young Italy 

solutely destitute of any basis of truth concerning 
the precarious condition which would result in 
our commerce and the injury to our credit." A 
sufficient reply to these statements is given by 
the following comparisons : 

September 27 (before the ultimatum). 



Italian rendita. 


Exchange. 


Rome. 


Paris. 


London. 


Berlin. 


Paris, 


London. 


Berlin. 


10117 
ioi*6o 
ioi*9o 


ioo"3o 
10030 

191-25 


99 

(Oct. 3) 

99 

(Nov. 21) 

100 


101 


100-97 
101-25 
100-50 


25-42 

25*47 
25'34 


124-05 
124-27 
123-00 



Neither the commerce nor the credit of Italy 
has suffered from the fact of her war with 
Turkey. The sum total of exports during 
October shows, for instance, an actual increase 
of nearly 1,000,000 lire over the total for October 
1 9 10. For the most part this increase is fur- 
nished by an increased sale of fruit, fresh and 
preserved, and of raw silks. But there is also 
a marked increase in the export of manufactured 
goods, notably of automobiles. The imports, 
on the other hand, have slightly fallen off, show- 
ing a decrease of some 400,000 lire during 
October as against that month in 1910. But 



Economic Italy 239 

this decrease is principally owing to the diminu- 
tion in the import of grain, which is itself due 
to the fact that the recent harvest in Italy was 
a particularly good one. The import of coal 
and raw stuffs for manufacture, an unmistakable 
sign of industrial progress, shows a considerable 
increase. 

The revival in Italian agriculture is perhaps 
more astonishing than the growth of industry. 
The miserably backward state of affairs had be- 
come a byword amongt he nations, and explains 
somewhat the ridicule poured out upon the Italians, 
especially by the French writers, when King 
Victor Emmanuel proposed to establish the Inter- 
national Institute of Agriculture. For Italy to 
give herself airs on agricultural matters showed, 
they thought, to say the least, a lack of modesty. 
But then these outsiders did not know of the 
internal transformation which had been taking 
place; and the great success of the International 
Institute has compelled them to eat their words. 
Gone are the wooden ploughs and pre-Adamite 
implements, and the latest machinery is owned 
and employed co-operatively. Where there were 
no roads, and cultivation languished because of 
lack of marketing facilities, there are well-con- 
structed highways, with automobile traffic linking 



240 Tripoli and Young Italy 

up with the railways, upon which easy freightage 
rates have been secured by co-operative action. 

Consider for a moment the disadvantages 
under which Italian agriculture laboured. To 
begin with, so much of the country is mountain- 
ous, estimated at one-third of the total area, 
while one-tenth of it is barren rock, and so many 
of the plains are merely marshes. The ruthless 
cutting down of timber, consequent upon wars 
and the niggardly policy of the landowners, not 
only denuded the hills, but rendered the lowlands 
arid. With no forests to hold the water, in 
summer the land below is parched, and in winter 
washed and gashed by uncontrollable torrents, 
and frequently flooded for hundreds of square 
miles. Add to this the fearful scourge of malaria, 
which makes so much territory almost uninhabit- 
able, and a faint idea may be gathered of what 
the Italian agricultural reformer found himself 
'•up against." But to-day, of 1,200,000 hectares 
of uncultivated land, which a few years ago were 
considered possible for reclamation, more than 
half are bearing fruits and crops. In this work 
of reclamation alone, between 1862 and 19 10, no 
less than 225,000,000 lire have been expended, 
and for the remainder of the work there are 
at present expenditures authorised of another 



Economic Italy 241 

205,000,000 lire. " The accumulated labour of in- 
dustrious generations has made mountain side and 
sandy plain smile with fertility. The patient 
Italian has built up the terraces of the Riviera, 
and set them thick with olive and vine ; the 
lemon-gardens by the Sorrento coast are literally 
made by hand out of a bare limestone cliff"; over 
three million acres have been laboriously irri- 
gated, and the ' marcite ' of Lombardy, of no 
great natural fertility, bear six to nine tons of 
hay to the acre." Indeed, the first glimpse 
of Italian land cultivation should be sufficient 
to dispel all the superstitions which some people 
seem to have been at great pains to instil into 
one's mind about the downright laziness of the 
Italians. The dolce far niente tradition is an 
outrageous libel on one of the most painstaking 
and industrious peoples in the world. 

How well the wooden plough has been con- 
signed to oblivion is demonstrated by the following 
figures of the importation of agricultural machinery: 





Value of Machinery Imported 




Lire. 


1905 . 


6,574,000 


1906 


3,199,600 


1907 . 


. 12,186,580 


1908 


. 12,542,660 


1909 . 


. 14,709,890 


I9I0 


• 15.083,520 



16 



242 Tripoli and Young Italy 

In the first few years after the unity of Italy 
there were scarcely a few hundred quintals of 
chemical manures manufactured. In 1909 there 
were manufactured in Italy 9,500,000 quintals of 
hyperphosphates, to the value of 52,500,000 lire. 
Indeed, the manufacture of artificial manures is 
a considerable industry, there being 120 factories 
employing over 5,000 workmen. 

Ten years ago the idea of reafforestation was 
somewhat of a novelty to the Italians ; but 
science brought home to them an understanding 
of the economic loss to the country through the 
lack of forests. And what forests had escaped 
the axe were in a shocking state of neglect. 
Wood is used practically exclusively as fuel for 
the winter warming of the houses ; and as it 
has to be exported from Austria, fabulous prices 
are charged for it : the poor simply have to go 
without. But in the last five years the Govern- 
ment has taken the matter thoroughly in hand. 
A rigorous vigilance has been established over 
the precious forests which stand, and considerable 
sums, which are to be augmented, are being 
devoted directly to reafforestation, nurseries 
having been established which distribute annually 
twenty million young trees, while tons of seeds 
are given away to peasant proprietors. 



Economic Italy 243 

Italy's extensive wine-growing dates from 
1888, when, taking advantage of the failure, 
through the pest, of the French vine-crop, she 
devoted herself enthusiastically to the business. 
Indeed, there was something like a craze, and 
every available nook and cranny was planted 
with vines. The recovery in France, and the 
entry of Spain and middle Europe territories 
into the wine-growing market, caused a reaction ; 
but despite her primitive methods, and lack of 
barrels and cellars, Italy held on ; and she is 
gradually removing the stigma that her wines 
will not " keep " by taking strict measures against 
adulteration, and giving careful study to the 
question of preservation. There is no reason why 
she should not continue to develop this industry, 
and produce a bigger variety of good brands like 
her Chianti, Marsala, Asti, etc. Much land in 
the South, which was previously used for olives 
and vegetable-growing, has been turned over 
to the vine. 

Olive-oil, of course, is another of Italy's great 
industries, a fifth part of the yearly production 
being exported. The olive-trees unfortunately 
are liable to the fly pest. There are no less 
than 19,000 oil-presses, employing 75,000 work- 
people. Mulberry-tree culture has developed 



244 Tripoli and Young Italy 

enormously, and, as is well known, Lyons has 
long been surpassed by Italy for the production 
of silk. Italian scientists have contributed a 
great deal to the successful cultivation of cocoons, 
in which industry there are nearly 200 establish- 
ments. " Eugenics " have been very successful 
among the silk-worms, the crossing of the old 
stocks with Japanese and Chinese worms having 
worked wonders. It is hoped that before long, 
Italy will be absolutely independent of other 
countries for her supply of silk-worms, and with 
the new colony coming to her aid this seems 
certain. 

Italy now ranks as one of the main rice- 
exporting countries, so rapidly has this branch of 
agriculture been developed, while as for tobacco, 
the statistics show that in 1908 something like 
140,000,000 plants were " raised." In fruit grow- 
ing keen competition from California has now to 
be met, but here again growth is the report. It 
is interesting to note that in 1907 Italy received 
no less than 29,852,230 lire for almonds alone — 
the best almonds in the world — and 11,456,885 
lire for hazel-nuts and other kinds of nuts. 
Dairy-farming has been taken up most enthusi- 
astically during the past fifteen years, and in 
this respect co-operative methods have worked 



Economic Italy 245 

wonders, so that a considerable export trade is 
done. Italian chickens and eggs have quite a 
reputation. Cattle, sheep, and horse breeding 
have been developed, largely on the lines of British 
societies for improving stock : and in spite of 
this there has been a considerable rise in imports 
in this respect. This, of course, is direct evidence 
of the raised standard of living : for meat foods 
were until a few years ago almost unknown 
among millions of the population. There is a 
vigorous movement on foot to capture for home 
producers this market, and additional strength 
is expected from the cattle-raising country of 
Cyrenaica. 

The co-operative principle is largely responsible 
for the revival of Italian agriculture. The 
Popular Banks began in the towns, and were 
of the Schulze-Delitzsch type, adapted to the 
special conditions of Italy by Luigi Luzzatti. 
They encouraged agriculture, and have con- 
tinued to do so, although the rural banks have 
taken up most of the work. They are essentially 
organs of credit for the great average trading, 
industrial, and agricultural middle class. The 
rural banks follow the Raffeison system. A 
large number of them are Catholic, being an 
outcome of the Catholic Social Movement. 



246 Tripoli and Young Italy 

They have for their principal object the pro- 
vision of capital to the peasants. They have 
no initial capital, but they receive savings and 
deposits ; and only when these are insufficient 
do they borrow the necessary capital from the 
Popular Banks. In 1886 there were 24 of these 
banks; in 1906 the number had risen to 1,451. 
The estimated number now is nearly 2,000. 
Quite distinct from these are the agricultural 
banks which have arisen in Southern Italy and 
Sicily as the result of legislation allowing the 
Banks of Naples and Sicily to transact agri- 
cultural business with intermediary institutions. 
In 1909 these banks numbered 1,542. 

Co-operative societies are also being founded 
for the collective purchase of requirements, to 
protect the farmers from exorbitant prices and 
inferior qualities. At present they are chiefly 
concerned with agricultural machines and chemi- 
cal manures. Co-operation in production is 
applied in many ways in Italy : in the manu- 
facture of butter and cheese, in making wine, 
in treating the lees of wine to obtain alcohol, 
extracting oil from olives, and extracting their 
essences from citrous fruits ; further, in the 
desiccation and preservation of cocoons, in the 
preparation and sale of preserves, fresh fruits, 



Economic Italy 247 

and vegetables, in the accumulation of flowers 
for the extraction and sale of their essences, 
as is done in the Maritime Alps. The co- 
operative dairies, however, had their origin in 
the mountains in the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries. The co-operative societies for the 
manufacture of chemical manures are fast gaining 
greater importance. They were started in order 
to check the excessive demands of the private 
manufacturer, and to lower the prices, and 
so far they have achieved considerable success. 
Stock-breeding societies are now growing rapidly. 
Collective farming is spreading in the South, 
as it is possible to obtain land from the owner 
more cheaply, and thus eliminate the middleman, 
who is responsible for increasing the rents. The 
Catholics have many of these collective farms, 
but the largest group is that of the Federation 
of Agricultural Societies, in the province of 
Trapani, a Socialist organisation, and the system 
is having great success. It is putting an end 
to the agricultural strikes which have so often 
been very near civil war. *' For the Socialists 
these collective farms are meant to complete 
the action of resistance, of which the leagues 
are the pivot, and to become the means by 
which the agricultural proletariat may rise from 



248 Tripoli and Young Italy 

the position of wage-earners, or small metayers 
or tenants, to that of being their own masters ; 
and this not as isolated individuals, but as 
members of a class. The aim is to emanci- 
pate the class, delivering it from the useless 
intermediary, who, to increase his gain, naturally 
makes his oppression most felt where there is 
least resistance ; it is on the class they desire 
to confer the benefits of progress that only a 
collective organisation can realise. With this 
end in view it is not intended so much to form 
different little farms associated only by the fact 
of hiring lands in common, to be cultivated after- 
wards separately, as to start one single great 
enterprise, of which the members will receive 
their pay from the society, that is to say, from 
themselves, and will divide amongst themselves 
the eventual profits of their common under- 
taking." 

In the domain of agriculture the establishment 
in Italy of what may be termed the " Green 
International " has been an epoch-marking event, 
which, simply for the reason that it happened in 
Italy, has not been sufificiently appreciated in the 
world's Press. Nobody knows better than the 
farmer himself that it is not only necessary to 
produce well, but also to sell well ; and nobody 



Economic Italy 249 

knows better than he that the price of his corn is 
fixed hard and fast by the world price. Hence 
he puzzles his poll over the agricultural "intelli- 
gence " in his newspaper, and endeavours to work 
out from the reports of growing crops, as near as 
may be, what price he can expect for his own 
products. But the " dubious outlook," the 
" probable deficiency," " indifferent," " short," 
"promising," "middling" reports only tend to 
obfuscate him the further, and he is still left 
guessing. His ignorance of the general con- 
dition of the crops of the world affords golden 
opportunities for the unscrupulous speculator, who 
can often spread or confirm at will false rumours 
artificially causing a rise or fall in prices, as may 
suit his own interests. The notorious Mr. Patten's 
exploits were only possible because he controlled 
the supply of information. The operations of the 
Bulls and the Bears in the Wheat Pit decide the 
farmer's destiny. 

It is here that the Green International comes 
in. Five years ago, one David Lubin, an 
American, who had learned his lessons farming 
in California, conceived the idea of an international 
crop-reporting bureau, to be supported by all the 
nations of the earth, and thus beyond the corrup- 
tion and the bribery of the " big business " 



250 Tripoli and Young Italy 

interests. It was truly an inspiration, and so 
possessed by it did Mr. Lubin become that he 
gave up his farming in order to go out and 
persuade the nations to take up his scheme. He 
went all over Europe trying to interest Ministers 
and Ambassadors. But, although they acknow- 
ledged that it was all very interesting and so 
much to be desired, they looked upon Mr. Lubin 
as a Utopian who somehow did not understand 
how really wicked the world was. But the man 
from California persevered, and eventually gained 
the sympathetic ear of Italy's democratic King, 
Victor Emmanuel. 

No country has suffered more than Italy from 
the terrible consequences of panics and high prices, 
and the King encouraged Mr. Lubin to propound 
his panacea. In brief, the scheme was to establish 
an International Institute of Agriculture, whose 
main object should be to issue, without comment, 
prompt and regular information regarding the 
various factors which influence the prices of agri- 
cultural products, to render thereby more and 
more difficult the speculation which, without 
profiting the consumer, obtains at the cost of 
the producer. While resisting the influence of 
organisations which, by means of inaccurate in- 
formation, artificially cause the sudden rise aqd 



Economic Italy 251 

fall of prices in the principal markets of the world, 
it should indicate how to sell and how to buy, by 
promptly communicating, at fixed and frequent 
intervals, to those who are interested, reports 
concerning the growing crops throughout the 
world, the stocks in store and circulation, and the 
probable demand. 

His Majesty was delighted with the idea, and, 
as an earnest of his enthusiasm, promptly gave 
Mr. Lubin a cheque for ;^i 2,000 towards the 
foundation of the Institute, and offered to pay 
the running expenses. It was decided that the 
Eternal City should house the Institute, and 
to-day this new building, standing in the charming 
Borghese Gardens, is the permanent home of a 
World Parliament. In the Senate House are 
gathered the representatives of fifty nations. We 
see the Russian and the Japanese, the Italian and 
the Austrian, the American and the Chinese, all 
working together with one common object. Here 
the talk is not of treaties, of the ethics of Dum- 
dum bullets and floating mines, but of bread and 
clothing for the peoples of every land, and how 
to protect them from the Pattens and other 
gamblers with the people's food. 

For years it has been generally agreed among 
authorities that if a " Single Numerical State- 



252 Tripoli and Young Italy 

ment" of the world's growing crops could be 
compiled it would be an epoch-marking achieve- 
ment. Signor Umberto Ricci, of the Institute, 
has marked that epoch with a Single Numerical 
Statement that shows at a glance and in a single 
figure the state of the world's growing crop at the 
time of publication. It is so simple that the 
dullest peasant can understand it, and it ranks as 
one of the greatest triumphs in statistics. And 
with the publication of the first Statement, even 
although it was founded upon the returns of only- 
half a dozen countries, objections fell to the 
ground wholesale, and the sceptical countries 
were converted. Those nations which have not 
proper reporting facilities are establishing special 
Agriculture Departments to deal with the matter, 
and already the Institute is able to issue a State- 
ment that for accuracy is far beyond anything 
accomplished before by private monopolies at a 
colossal expenditure of money. As often as not 
the information published by the private institu- 
tions is deliberately misleading. It has paid the 
speculator to poison the well of truth, and the 
buying up of the newspapers and bribery of 
the agricultural correspondents of the newspapers 
is only part of the game. Without the aid and 
unity of the nations the Institute was impossible, 



Economic Italy 253 

but now, with only a few minor States, such as 
Siam and Bolivia, standing outside, the success 
of the Institute and its work is assured. Hence- 
forward the Single Numerical Statement will be 
the real guide to the farmers of the whole world 
in the formation of the prices of their products. 
What its influence will be upon protective tariffs 
and other disturbing factors of the world's peace 
remains to be seen, but it is bound to have a 
far-reaching effect. 

But what must also be of interest to agricul- 
tural reformers is the service the Institute is now 
rendering the world in developing agricultural 
co-operative banking. While the official Govern- 
ment crop-reporting system of the Institute is to 
be a factor in determining the world's price of 
the farmer's product, co-operative banking is to 
enable him to exercise control over his labours in 
accordance with the trend of modern economic 
developments. The one is complementary to the 
other. Upon this question the contributions of 
the Institute have already attained magnificent 
proportions, and the British Government in par- 
ticular is said to attach much importance to this 
branch of its work. 



CHAPTER IX 

INTELLECTUAL ITALY 

DURING the last ten years Italian culture 
has shown a truly marvellous impetus, 
and evinces some special characteristics that 
render it peculiarly interesting. A new generation 
of young men 'has sprung up who have brought 
a potent breath of new life into the domains 
of literature, art, religion, philosophy, and social 
action ; and it will be found that, in spite of 
many differences and even contradictions, they 
are all animated by the same spirit, they are all 
characterised by a fine breadth of view and a 
corresponding tendency towards synthesis. 

Writers, philosophers, artists, no longer form 
little hermetically closed camps, strangers to 
one another and the world. These intellectual 
workers have felt the need to come into contact 
with modern life, and the contact has awakened 
in them doubts and problems compelling them 
to think. Thus it happened that at the same 

254 



Intellectual Italy 255 

epoch a strong group of young men of un- 
usual ability began to occupy themselves with 
religious and philosophical problems, Bergson 
was well known and appreciated in Italy, 
while he was as yet little known in France, 
and not at all in England. William James 
was translated and widely read in Italy, while 
in France and Germany he was known only 
to specialists. And it is not surprising that a 
new moral tone is pervading all intellectual de- 
partments. The younger generation comprehends 
that the ultimate scope of all culture is ethical, 
and endeavours to demonstrate this practically 
as well as theoretically. Hence many studious 
young men are dedicating themselves to social 
work as the inevitable outcome of their serious 
philosophical study. 

One school may be said to be led by the 
philosopher Benedetto Croce, a cool and some- 
what negative spirit, who, together with his 
followers, attaches great importance to criticism 
and analysis, and has little sympathy with the 
other schools of young ardent poets inspired by 
d'Annunzio, but not imitators of that poet — men 
who turn towards life and movement, and whose 
distinguishing note is a buoyant hopefulness and 
confidence in their own and their country's future. 



256 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Around the former school are naturally gathered 
the philosophers, and their idealistic wing has its 
headquarters in Florence and Naples. Giovanni 
Papini and Giuseppe Prezzolini, in their weekly 
Leonardo, combated the Positivist and Aca- 
demic school with asperity and even exagge- 
ration, but helped to diffuse knowledge of 
important movements. Leonardo is now de- 
funct, but a more ambitious project is Psiche, 
edited by Roberto Assagioli. Meanwhile Prez- 
zolini is continuing his own side of the campaign 
in his weekly La Voce, but has moved his 
ground on to social and political questions, and 
his endeavour now is to awaken the moral con- 
science of the nation and to purify the national 
life. With him there now works the historian 
and independent Socialist, Gaetano Salvemini, 
who is conducting an active campaign for the 
redemption of the South. Further, in Florence 
there exists an active and genial centre of culture 
in the shape of the Biblioteca Filosofica, where 
lectures are held, and from whence periodicals 
and books bearing on intellectual movements 
are sent all over the country. 

Benedetto Croce is certainly the biggest name 
in contemporary thought. He has elaborated a 
vast ideological system that derives from the 



Intellectual Italy 257 

absolute idealism of Hegel, but which neverthe- 
less bears the stamp of his own originality. His 
aesthetic studies, recently published in English, 
have made him known to English readers, who 
would (or could) not have read his magnuyn opus 
in the original. Together with Giovanni Gentile, 
who is professor of the University of Palermo, 
and there directs a Biblioteca Filosofica which 
has identical aims with that of Florence, Croce 
edits a monthly review. La Criiica, which treats 
of literature from a severely historical and elevated 
point of view. 

The recently revived interest in religious studies 
in Italy is due above all to the Modernists. 
Much has been done in Milan by Alessandro 
Casati and Tommaso Gallarati Scotti with their 
excellent review, II Rinnovamento, and at Florence 
by Salvatore Minocchi, who abandoned his priestly 
cassock rather than bend before the exigencies 
of the Vatican. Romolo Murri too, after long 
internal struggles, felt constrained to abandon the 
priesthood in order to dedicate himself freely to 
social and political work, and now sits as deputy 
in the Italian Parliament. As regards historical 
studies, the work of Guglielmo Ferrero stands 
easily first among the younger men. 

Modern Italian novelists are still too much domi- 
17 



258 Tripoli and Young Italy 

nated by d'Annunzio's overpowering influence, 
which makes them tend to dwell too exclusively on 
the seamy side of life. There are, however, signs of 
a healthy reaction towards what might be defined 
as a middle-class standard of morals, producing 
books less reverberate in sound, less rhetorical 
and brilliant in style, but wholesomer and truer 
to life and to life's intimate problems. Of this, 
" Fiabe Delia Virtu" of Alfredo Panzini may be 
regarded as a symptom and an example. How- 
ever, it is pretty certain that the Italian genius 
runs more to short tales than to works a longue 
haleine, to poetry and to plays than to novels — 
in short, the exact opposite of what happens in 
England and the United States. Grazid Deledda 
continues to write her Sardinian tales, and she 
has of late distinguished herself as well for 
her poems inspired by a vigorous patriotic 
emotion. Giuseppe Brunati has met with success 
in his " L'Oriente Veneziano " and " Quaresi- 
male." Clerice Tartufari's ** II Miracolo " and 
" Leggi Eterne" are able psychological and 
ethical studies. Antonio Beltramelli has pre- 
served the fiery, rude character of his native 
Romagna in novels written in a somewhat 
original style. 

It would never occur to an Italian if he wanted 



Intellectual Italy 259 

to deal with some psychological or social problem 
to do so in fiction form. Foggazzaro, who dealt 
with Modernism in that form, was the exception 
that proves the rule, but then his inspirations 
were not typically Italian. Your true Italian 
would either turn to poetry or discuss his subject 
in minute and searching detail in a tome devoted 
wholly to it and devoid of love frills or social 
fringes. The Italian's native impulse is towards 
the oldest and youngest form of art, that of the 
lyric. He breaks into verse as spontaneously 
as a bird breaks into song. 

And here we enter the domain where we are 
faced with an embarras de richesse where choice 
and encomium become difficult. However, two 
main currents may be made out plainly. One 
may be described as the school of twilight, the 
other that of dawn. The former celebrates the 
minute, the weak, the perishing, the petty things 
of life and nature ; its lyre is tuned to a languid 
pessimism, a vapid scepticism ; its work re- 
sembles filigree — pretty, graceful, but not solid or 
made to survive wear and tear. It is permeated 
by a hothouse, rather than an outdoor, air. 
The head of this school is Guido Gozzano of 
Turin, whose last work, called " I Colloqui," is 
eminently characteristic of his merits and defects. 



26o Tripoli and Young Italy 

Unquestionably he has a large following. Opposed 
to this decadent stands a vigorous and keenly 
vital group of young poets who by word and deed 
affirm poetry in Italy is not dead, but as living 
and as significant and influential as of yore. Their 
organ is V Vivica, a monthly magazine. In verses 
that palpitate with youthful verve and faith, 
they glorify life in all its multifarious aspects, 
they worship a poetic ideal that embraces 
Humanity, Nature, and above all, the Father- 
land. Further, in lieu of writing in such a 
manner that, but for the division of the lines by 
the printer, the matter might be prose, ^ la 
Walt Whitman, they have returned to the old 
Italian metres, to simplicity, to lucidity of style and 
thought, resolved to preserve the best of Italian 
traditions free from foreign influences. For the 
keynote that distinguishes them all and unites 
them is their fervent patriotism. Of this, 
d'Annunzio has just given an example, whom else 
we might not name, as he belongs to an older 
generation. But, with the uprising of patriotism 
that swept like a flood over the Peninsula on the 
outbreak of the war against Turkey, the traditional 
foe of Italy, d'Annunzio seemed to have renewed 
his youth and, in a series of odes entitled " Canzoni 
per le geste d'Oltremare," proved himself the 



Intellectual Italy 261 

bard, the veritable Tyrtaeus of this refinding of 
the national soul. On their appearance in the 
Corriere della Sera they were insistently clamoured 
for in the theatres, and the actors had to recite 
them to the acclamation of frantically excited 
audiences. Another elder poet whom the Tripoli 
campaign has furnished with youthful inspiration 
and ardour is Giovanni Pascoli, whose commemora- 
tion of the dead and wounded, under the title 
of " La Grande Proletarian si e Mossa," is a 
splendid piece of prose-poetry. 

But to return to the younger men, mention 
must be made of Francesco Chiesa, a revolu- 
tionary and mystic spirit who in a chain of robust 
incisive sonnets has celebrated the glories of the 
Italian mediaeval cathedral, around which there 
pulsed in the Middle Ages the greater part of 
civil life. Pietro Mastri is a follower of Pascoli, 
and expresses, like his master, the gentle Virgilian 
feeling for country life, as he shows in his chief 
volume " L'Arcobaleno " ; and a sincere devotion 
to nature also inspires the exalted verses of 
Giovanni Bertachi. Mario Chini, too, has this 
delicate sympathy, as he proves in his " II Ragno," 
where the influence of Mistral makes itself felt. 
Further, there are Sebastiano Satta, the poet of 
Sardinia, whose wild character he exalts ; Giorgini 



262 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Conti, the graceful, with his *' Convegno dei 
Cipressi " ; Ettore Cozzani, the singer of the sea ; 
Federico Tozzi, with his historic vision ; Domenico 
Tumiati, with his " Poemi Lirici," and his play 
La Giovane Italia, which furnishes an admirable 
example of an historical play rich in lyrical 
interludes. 

Two of the younger school have made real 
new departures, Eugenio Coselschi and Ferdi- 
nando Paolieri. The former, a very young man, 
has already to his record an " Inno al Sole " that 
is one long affirmation of his love for the Cosmos, 
his thoroughgoing Pantheism. Coselschi promises 
an epic that will embrace certainly three volumes, 
in which he intends to describe and exalt the 
recent glorious national revival. Francesco 
Paolieri also prefers the epic form. His " Venere 
Agresti " is a vigorous, wholesome glorification of 
the life of the farm and the fields. Its images, 
its prevailing character, its metaphors, smell of 
the soil. Of women singers, too, there is no lack. 
Eminent among the youngest are Maria Stella 
and Amalia Guglielminetti, whose virile agility 
of expression, conjoined to a sensual note and a 
proud dignity and force, has caused Borgese to 
salute her as *' Sappho redivivus." 

Special mention must be made of the dialect 



Intellectual Italy 263 

poetry, which of recent years has seen a notable 
revival ; for it must ever be remembered that, 
while Tuscan is the official Italian language, the 
dialects of the various regions are still persistent, 
and their use is by no means confined to the 
illiterate : for, unless strangers are present, they 
are spoken in the family circle, in the streets 
and mart. Thus, for example, Milanese, Genoese, 
Piedmontese, Neapolitan, are real languages, with 
a literature and a syntax their own. Among the 
Roman dialect poets Cesare Pascarella takes the 
first place. In sonnet form he furnishes us with 
exquisite miniatures of popular Roman life. 
Inimitably witty is his account put into the mouth 
of a man of the people, of Columbus's discovery 
of America, in which old and new ideas are 
mixed up in the most glorious confusion, and 
which at the same time is an exaltation of Italian 
genius. "A man of any other nation sees a 
dead frog, and that is all there is to it. Your 
Italian sees it and discovers electricity," and so 
on. Trilussa's poetry is different in character. 
He notes xh^fattidiversi of the day and puts them 
forward in the shape of dialogues, comic scenes, 
pungent satires of society and contemporary 
manners. A master in Neapolitan dialect is 
Salvatore di Giacomo, a really great poet, who 



264 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
reflects the noble vivacity of his fellow townsmen, 
the beauty of the bay and landscape. Many of 
the most famous and popular of the Piedigrotta 
songs are due to his graceful fancy. Roberto 
Bracco, the playwright, has also used his native 
Neapolitan dialect to put forward some of his vivid 
pictures of the popular soul, while Ferdinando 
Russo is a veritable artist, making the populace live 
before us in their own speech. In the dialect of 
Bologna, perhaps the harshest and most difficult, 
Alfredo Testoni has earned a merited fame by 
his " Sonetti della Signora Cattareina," where 
in Bolognese, a trifle diluted with real Italian, he 
lets his protagonist, an old-clothes woman, week 
by week, "gossip" to her heart's content about 
the doings of the larger world. These sonnets 
are often exquisitely comic, and yet not devoid 
of true poetic feeling. Berto Barbarani has had 
recourse to his native Veronese to enable him to 
express certain delicacies of sentiment and grace 
to which the more literary speech does not lend 
itself. 

There is perhaps no country, not even Ger- 
many, where so much writing is put out by the 
printing-press as in Italy, " writing" which, with- 
out literary pretence, is often respectable in merit 
and shows above all the keen mental activity of 



Intellectual Italy 265 

the Italians. This is partly due to the fact that 
printing is cheap, and partly that the Italian runs 
easily into elegant verbal expression of his rapidly 
conceived and redundant thoughts. This ten- 
dency also leads to the issue of countless small 
newspapers, small reviews, devoted to the discus- 
sion of some passing theme, some ardent polemic ; 
and although their life term is* brief, yet in 
their pages are not infrequently to be found 
hidden grains of gold. How all these reviewlets 
and newspaperlets manage to live is a marvel, 
even allowing for the Italians' marked predilec- 
tion for newspaper reading. The tone of the 
newspaper Press, be it noted, is high — the Yellow 
Press has not yet found adherents here — the 
standard of writing is good, the information 
accurate. Italian newspapers can boast of not 
a few literary geniuses on their staffs, such as 
the brilliant Luigi Barzini, correspondent of the 
Corriere della Sera, Giuseppe Bevione of the 
Siampa, Corrado Zoli of the Secolo. Among 
literary and dramatic critics, Dino Mantovani 
and Domenico Oliva stand out as men whose 
writings are read and re-read and hotly dis- 
cussed throughout Italy. It is symptomatic 
of the revival of Nationalism that the Authors' 
Society of Rome has offered a prize for the 



266 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
best work in verse or prose reflecting the new 
spirit. 

In pictorial art there has been much activity — 
indeed too much, for one wonders what becomes 
of the yards and yards of coloured canvas. The 
new spirit as yet seems hardly to have touched 
painting. The younger men are still over- 
weighted by the memories of Italy's glorious 
past, or are under the spell of foreign artists 
whose works they see at the International 
Exhibitions of Venice and elsewhere. After 
each such exhibition the art therein dominant finds 
its echo among the younger men — Spanish im- 
petuosity, German slapdash, Swedish mistiness, 
or whatever other pose is in vogue. Also the 
younger generation, here as elsewhere, study light 
effects and cognate problems, thereby causing the 
physiognomy of pictorial art to diverge too much 
from its proper sphere, becoming an optic rather 
than an intellectual expression. Impressionism, 
divisionism, pointism, and all the other 'isms 
have their adherents, but a true and vigorous 
national art, sprung from the best Italian tradi- 
tions, in which a modern trend shows itself, still 
awaits its exponent. The only new note is a 
marked inclination towards landscape, which was 
less the forte of the older masters, and a pre- 



Intellectual Italy 267 

dilection for portraiture, with an attempt to give 
psychological readings of the sitter's character. 
Of course this bias towards portraiture may be 
in part due to the fact that it is easier in this 
line to get commissions. Beyond question the 
strongest of these portrait-painters is Giacomo 
Balla, a Piedmontese resident in Rome, whose 
merits have not been sufficiently brought before 
the public, owing in part to the envy of his less 
able rivals and his own retiring modesty. Older, 
but young in the manifestations of his art, is 
Antonio Mancini, the Sicilian who permits him- 
self certain audacities of technique that rebel 
against all tradition and convention. A solitary 
who endeavours to follow the ideals expressed in 
William Morris's " House of Art " is Adolfo de 
Carolis — a little monotonous in his types, but a 
graceful artist and an admirable designer. His 
pupil, Armando Spadini, is stronger and more 
varied, an acute observer of human types, and 
an impetuous and fluid colourist. Agreeable 
portrait-painters are Carlo Siviero of Naples and 
Manlio Martinelli the Tuscan. 

The geographical divisions in Italian art show 
no signs of disappearing — rather they are accen- 
tuated at the various exhibitions, where separate 
rooms are often assigned to the various provinces. 



268 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Venice during the last thirty years has seen a 
notable revival of her own best traditions, and 
the Venetian landscapists, above all, have dis- 
tinguished themselves for their brilliant and 
lovely colouring, their elegance of touch, their 
subtilty of tone, reflecting the soul and character 
of their lagoons. A high place belongs to the 
Ciardi family, landscapists and seascapists, and high 
praise is above all due to Emma Ciardi for her 
exquisite garden studies, to which she knows how 
to impart a rococo grace. Marius Pictor, with 
his macabre fantasies and his moonlight effects, 
though a Bolognese, must be classed among the 
Venetians ; and so must Cesare Laurenti, who 
represents the psychological trend of modern 
Italian painting, with a manifest inclination 
towards svmbolism. 

The Lombard painters are more sober in 
colouring, as is natural, seeing the difference in 
the environment, but perchance also more solid 
in substance. They have all more or less been 
influenced by that restless spirit of fervid fantasy, 
Gaetano Previati, whose experiments in technique 
led him at last into divisionism, by which means 
he hoped to attain to a new idealism in art. His 
followers have been many, and above all he has 
had followers in his attempts to bring social 



Intellectual Italy 269 

problems upon the canvas, which is also one of 
the prominent characteristics of the younger Italian 
school. Among the youngest Lombard painters 
perhaps the most promising are Pietro Chiesa, 
Carlo Cazzaniga, and Emilo Pasini, though it is 
almost invidious to specialise, for so many show 
taste and ability. The hall-mark of Piedmont, 
as might be expected, is a serious severity. 
Landscape attracts them largely, but among the 
very youngest men none have as yet risen above 
the average. The Tuscans maintain their artistic 
traditions in so far that they are in the forefront 
of progress following all the various and most 
modern manifestations of art. They are strong 
in landscape, wherein, curiously enough, they all 
manifest the same inspiration, the same scheme 
of colouring, and evince a distinction of touch and a 
delicacy of treatment that make their pictures easily 
recognisable. Their most original painter is no 
longer young in years, although juvenile in method 
and thought — Plinio Nomellini, the most vivacious 
champion of artistic modernism. Antonio de 
Witt is an able landscapist who endeavours to 
express in his scenery the thoughts of the poet 
Pascoli. Good, too, are Augusto Bastianini, Mos6 
Lanzi, Mario Pensa, and Alberto Zardo, the latter 
employing pastel as his medium. As figure- 



270 Tripoli and Young Italy 

painters Salvino Tofanari, Oscar Ghiglia, Manlio 
Martinelli, Ezio Marzi, and Ernestina Orlandini 
deserve mention. Genre painting is also cultivated 
by the Tuscans, but degenerates too easily into 
commercial art, for which unfortunately there is 
a ready market in Florence, or wherever the 
tourist gathers. 

The Emilia boasts among others Luigi Bompard, 
modern in aim and technique ; Nicola Laurenti, 
a virile pastellist ; and Augusto Mussini, a restless 
spirit, who, after striving to find his vocation in 
art, mysteriously disappeared for some years, to be 
rediscovered in a monk's frock, exercising his 
talents upon frescoes for his convent church. 
Modern Neapolitan and South Italian art has 
a marked character of its own, consisting in 
vivacity of colour, of action, of imagination. 
The most promising younger Neapolitan talents 
are represented by three women, Angela 
Caraguti, Assunta Avitabile, with excellent 
nudes, and Celeste Cacace, with her portraits. 
There are also many clever artists among the 
men, but none of overwhelming talent. 

Italy has only recently distinguished herself 
in the domain of etching, colour-printing, litho- 
graphy and other graphic and photo-mechanic 
arts, encouraged by the International Exhibitions 



Intellectual Italy 271 

held in Venice and Rome of black and white, 
and the demand for illustrations and other 
branches of commercial art. In coloured etching 
Francesco Vitalini, who perished miserably in 
the Alps, turned out some spirited specimens ; 
while Cesare Bisio walks worthily in the footsteps 
of Piranesi. In poster art, Italy, though she 
came late into the field, has achieved some notable 
successes. Here her poetic imagination, her 
synthetic tendency, and her capacity of seizing 
the salient moment, have stood her in good stead. 
The same capacity of grasping the heart of a 
subject makes the Italians felicitous caricaturists. 
Most are attached to some special journal and 
do their work under pseudonyms. Perhaps the 
most vigorous are Galantara of the Asino, who 
flagellates social conditions with mordant satire, 
and Augusto Majano, the political caricaturist 
of the Resio del Carlino. 

Nowhere has the new spirit shown more 
vitality and impetus than in the domain of 
sculpture, that apparently most stationary and 
tranquil of the arts. Here again it manifests 
itself in a marked striving to emphasise individ- 
ualism, and also in the desire to cause this art to 
lend itself to the awakening of the social con- 
science. An exponent of this bent is Ernesto 



272 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Biondi, whose "Saturnali/'nowin the National Gal- 
lery of Rome, was judged too strong meat for the 
American public, and its exhibition was prohibited. 
Here is veristic plastic with a vengeance, acute 
physiological and psychological perception, and 
a subtile satire that, under cover of an antique 
dress, reads a lesson to our modern jeunesse dor^. 
Enrico Quattrini was also for many years ignored 
until he won the competition for the statue of 
" Justice " and the decorative group of ** Justice 
between Force and Law " destined to surmount 
the fine new Roman Palace of Justice. He is 
a decorative artist in the fullest sense of the 
word, with a leaning to the best decorative motifs 
of the seventeenth century. A promising sculptor 
is Arturo Dazzi, who came in a strong second in 
the competition for the Altare della Patria won 
by Angelo Zanelli. Among the Neapolitans, 
who in sculpture too are true to their native 
vivacity and exuberance, a high, if not the first, 
place would have belonged to Vincenzo Gemito, 
who received his baptism of glory from Meissonier 
— had he not unhappily lost his reason. Among 
young Sicilians, Giovanni Nicolini deserves 
favourable mention, who, long under the imperious 
influence of Rodin, has emancipated himself and 
found his own style. His monument of Crispi 



Intellectual Italy 273 

at Palermo and his bronze group " The Mowers," 
the property of the State, are both pervaded with 
a social spirit, Francesco Clusa, the Sardinian, 
has successfully introduced modern Italian art 
to the sons of his fascinating, mysterious isle, 
with its crimes, its vengeances, its hot-blooded 
passions. Maccagnani dedicated much of his 
talent and his time to the monument to Victor 
Emmanuel, working beside its originator, Sacconi, 
helping to model the plastic portions with an 
elegance truly Hellenic. Of his decorative 
faculty he gives evidence in his group "War" 
for this same monument and his "Fame" for 
the Palace of Justice. In Lombardy men like 
Troubetskoy and Quadrelli have greatly helped 
forward the sculpture revival, the former ever 
occupied with reproducing the expression of 
movement in his spirited animals ; the latter 
in his attempts to reconcile the decorative with 
a truly sculptural sense of repose. And side 
by side with these worked in Piedmont the three 
men who really emancipated Italian sculpture 
from its academic swaddling-clothes and prepared 
it for the new spring that has now dawned — that 
is to say, Calandra, Bistolfi, and Canonico. The 
restless audacities of Medardo Rossi also contri- 
buted their quota to the rousing of the public 
18 



274 Tripoli and Young Italy 

from its indifference, for it must be admitted 
that sculpture, too, had fallen upon evil days. 
First, the baneful influence of the Academicians, 
then the so-called naturalists, who threw overboard 
every tradition under the pretence of a more 
direct rendering of nature, caused a vulgar and 
superficial art to triumph. This was the more 
to be regretted because Italy was engaged in 
erecting statues and monuments to the heroes 
of her resurrection, and with results too often 
deplorable from the standpoint of art. 

To the direct and indirect influence then of 
the men just named — true pioneers — Italy owes 
younger men like Libero Andreotti, the author 
of nervous, Tanagra-like figurines of modern 
life, admired by critical Paris ; Livio Tofanari, 
the sculptor of wild animals, who earned well- 
merited laurels at the last Venice Exhibition ; 
Michele de Benedetti, the creator of a violinist 
now in the Gallery of Modern Art at Rome ; 
Alimondo Ciampi, the able pupil of that refined 
and really great sculptor, Treutacoste, — to name 
but a few at random. 

But all are eclipsed and surpassed in promise 
and in achievement by the sculptor whose name 
three years ago was practically unknown, and who 
is now an Italian glory. For the general public 



Intellectual Italy 275 

was unaware that he had already won a student's 
prize with a frieze representing " Labour," a 
task he carried out. in two episodes of work in 
the fields and work at the quarry. This was 
followed by a seated half-length erected to Gasparo 
da Salo, the seventeenth-century lutist, the inven- 
tor of the violin, by his native townlet, a work 
that vibrates with concentrated sensibility. 
About the same time (in 1908) Zanelli received 
an order from an American to decorate for 
him a classic funereal temple which the young 
architect Marcello Piacentini had designed. 
Zanelli elected to make a frieze running all 
round the cella, and in this frieze, enclosing 
over one hundred figures, he was able to give 
free rein to his imagination, following the 
classic usage of honouring death as a lyrical 
representation of life. The result is a splendid 
apotheosis of life, sane, vehement, and victorious. 
While he was still at work on this frieze the 
competition was announced for the frieze 
that should decorate the so-called Altare della 
Patria that runs round the pedestal of Victor 
Emmanuel's equestrian statue. It only occurred 
to Zanelli to compete three weeks before the 
term for presenting the models expired. As 
usual with him when working, he shut him- 



276 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
self away from all contact with the outer 
world, and till he presented his sketch no one 
was aware of its nature. The adjudicating 
committee, to their eternal honour, as one man, 
unanimously gave the commission to Zanelli, 
though quite unknown to all. In twenty-two 
months he was ordered to present his sketch 
in plaster in its ultimate proportions. In less 
than seventeen he had completed his task — no 
trifling achievement, seeing the size of the 
colossal bas-relief and the number of figures it 
contains. Zanelli has understood as no other 
that the Altare needs to be a synthesis of the 
whole monument, and that to attain this it is 
needful to have recourse to symbolism, a symbol, 
however, that shall speak plainly so that all can 
read it and comprehend. His frieze glorifies 
the virtues of the Italian people, which he 
bases on labour and love of the Fatherland — 
the two traditionally Italian virtues. He causes 
them to move in ordered procession towards 
Rome, the constant desire and aspiration of the 
national soul. The whole, thus conceived, is a 
dignified poem, adumbrating, poetically and ocularly 
the splendid historical moment it commemorates 
for to-day and for posterity. 

Architecture has not kept pace with the sister 



Intellectual Italy 277 

arts of painting and sculpture, but the Third 
Italy can point with justifiable pride to at 
least one notable architectural achievement in 
the really impressive and dignified national monu- 
ment at Rome, nominally to Victor Emmanuel, 
but really to the memory of her resurrection 
as a nation. Unfortunately, Count Giuseppe 
Sacconi did not live to finish it, and left his 
plans too incomplete, so that much had neces- 
sarily to be changed and modified by other 
hands. Hence the work is not entirely homo- 
geneous, but now that it stands practically com- 
plete on the flanks of the Capitol, and dominating 
the Eternal City, even the foreigner, who is 
prone to depreciate every expression of the 
new Italy's artistic activity, is forced to concede 
that this monument, whose inspiration derives from 
Greek harmony and Roman love of grandiose 
splendour, is an imposing fabric that synthesizes 
the solemn significance of patriotism understood 
in its widest and sublimest interpretation. 

The Italians have always been keen theatre- 
goers, and their actors have always been distin- 
guished. Nor have they declined in this respect. 
It is true that, as in other lands, there has 
been a great tendency to adapt to the native 
stage the plays of France, and in some respects. 



278 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
even those of England. It may, for example, 
be affirmed that Charley s Aunt is as popular in 
the Peninsula as at home ; and recently Bernard 
Shaw has found appreciation, thanks to the 
sympathetic translations of Signor Antonio 
Agresti. But with the national revival there 
has made itself felt a desire for national plays, 
and there has been a reaction against French 
dramatic works, notwithstanding their lively 
dialogue and ingenious plots. The Italian play- 
wrights are more versatile. They deal with other 
human passions besides the amorous, as is right 
and proper if the stage is to hold up the mirror 
to life. The chief exponents of this department 
of dramatic writing are still Bracco, Butti, and 
Traversa, all three past-masters in the delinea- 
tion of soul dramas, in the building up of 
attractive plots ; but none of the three can be 
justly classed as belonging to the generation that 
is coming on. This generation has produced, 
however, one playwright who has leaped suddenly 
into well-merited fame. And this is Sem Benelli, 
dramatist and poet ; for his plays are mostly 
written in verse, which all Italian actors know 
how to speak, a rare accomplishment not possessed 
in such measure by the actors of other lands. In 
Italy's Jubilee year of 191 1, Benelli earned for 




ANGELO ZANELLI, 
Italy's greatest Sculptor. 



[279 



Intellectual Italy 279 

himself fresh laurels with two tragedies, // Man- 
tellacio and Rosamunda, that Rosamunda, the 
wife of Albion, the founder of the Lombard 
Dominion of sixth-century Italy, whose cruel fate 
has inspired yet other poets, among them Alfieri 
and Swinburne. In detail and in mass Benelli 
has contrived to give a lurid, vivid picture of 
barbaric life and of the Longobard conquest of 
Italy. In // Mantellacio Benelli also treats 
of an historical theme, a Florentine subject deal- 
ing with the company of poets opposed to the aca- 
demic school of singers. This, however, met with 
a more limited success, being considered too lyrical 
for a stage drama. Perhaps his best play still 
remains that which literally took Europe by storm 
— La Cena delle Beffe. Here the mediaeval 
Florentine environment, with its ferocious hatreds, 
its pitiless vengeances, its atrocious crimes, is 
reproduced with a skill rarely equalled by any 
other dramatic artist. Indeed, Florentine themes 
attract him ; — perhaps because he is himself a 
Tuscan ; — for he has returned to them in the 
Maschera di Bruto, where the protagonist is the 
Lorenzino dei Medici who assassinated that weak, 
vicious Alessandro, in whom the older branch of 
the Medici clan became extinct. V A more dei 
Tre Re is based on a mediaeval legend of the 



28o Tripoli and Young Italy- 
year looo, and is perchance the least successful 
of Benelli's dramas. But always and ever his 
language is terse and pointed, his diction noble, 
even if now and again too ornate ; wherefore his 
work will live, not only as a simple literary 
phenomenon, but also as a notable example of 
that which Young Italy can produce. His are 
true Italian plays, which owe nothing to French 
influences. 

Here again, in order really to touch the national 
soul, we have to turn to the dialect theatre, for, 
though Paris is France, Rome is not Italy. 
Regionalism in this respect fortunately has not 
died out of Italian art. Each city has its own 
character, as it has its own dialect and its own 
idiosyncratic public. On this account the recent 
reawakening of the dialect theatre is noteworthy 
as perhaps the most remarkable phenomenon of 
this beginning of a new century, though of course 
it must never be forgotten that Goldoni, the 
greatest master of Italian drama, was in all 
respects a dialect playwright. From this dialect 
theatre it is hoped may develop the national 
theatre, the real Italian theatre so ardently desired. 
Among the principal dialect authors who have 
triumphed in Italy during the last few years the 
first place perhaps belongs to Salvatore di 



Intellectual Italy 281 

Giacomo, that artist in words and writer of 
true poetic feeling, whose one-act play Mese 
Mariano is a microcosmos of concentration and 
suggestion. Again, in his Assunta Spina, the 
tragic story of a Neapolitan ironer, we once 
more laugh and weep at the same moment, for 
di Giacomo knows how to touch and tickle in 
one breath. Luigi Capuana's Sicilian plays have 
become familiar outside Italy, thanks to the 
overwhelming art of Giovanni Grasso. Amelia 
Rosselli, who some years ago won with her 
vigorous Animao the competitive prize of the 
Dramatic Society for the best play offered anony- 
mously, has achieved a new success with a play 
in Venetian dialect, El Re/olo, which means a 
sudden gust of wind. 

In a lecture dealing with contemporary Italian 
music recently given in Paris by the French poet 
Paul Millet occurred this passage : " Happy the 
land whose musicians express the correct ideas of 
national genius and press ever forward guided by 
the inspiration that gushes from the inexhaustible 
springs of the race." Certainly, within recent 
years the musical life of Italy has shown increased 
energy in all its branches. The theatre still 
continues the goal to which the greater number 
of young musicians aspire ; opera has always 



282 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
been the form that corresponds best to the genius 
of Italian composers. Those masters who were 
already to the fore ten years ago have continued 
to write for the stage, such as Mascagni, Puccini, 
Giordano, Leoncavallo, etc. At the same time, 
younger men have come to the front, and special 
mention must be made of Giacomo, Riccardo, 
Storti, Zanella, Santoliquido, del Valle, Ferroni, 
Luporini, and above all, Wolff-Ferrari of Venice. 
What is new, however, is that of late years the 
young musical school of Italy has turned its 
attention with enthusiasm and success to chamber 
music, and especially to its symphonic branch, 
which in former times had notable masters in 
Italy, but of late has been neglected. The 
impulse in this direction was given some time 
ago by Giovanni Sgambati and the late Giuseppe 
Martucci. To-day many young composers 
dedicate their talents to this noble elevated 
branch, proving that it is not foreign, as was once 
supposed, to the Italian nature and genius. The 
most notable composers of this class of music 
are Enrico Bossi, who, besides being an eminent 
organist, has also written beautiful organ and 
church music, and also music for the pianoforte 
and orchestra ; Edgardo Del Valle de Paz, pro- 
fessor of piano-playing and author of compositions 



Intellectual Italy 283 

for that instrument, distinguished for elegance of 
form and grace of inspiration ; while Wolff- Ferrari, 
already named, also composed sonatas, quartettes, 
and symphonies. Ildebrando Pozzetti, nick- 
named Ildebrando di Parma by d'Annunzio, for 
whose " Nave " he composed the music, is one of 
the most ardent followers of the new tendency in 
musical art. Leone Sinigallia is better known 
outside of Italy as the writer of inspired and 
genial, important instrumental works, especially for 
the violin, also for his " Danze Piemontesi," an 
overture to the " Barufife Chiozzotte," etc. Besides 
these, there are Guido Alberto Faon, a composer 
and director of merit, Amilcare Zanella, an 
excellent pianist, writer of much chamber music, 
and director of the Liceo Rossini of Pesaro ; 
Gino Bellio, Esposito, Falconi, Parodi, and yet 
many others who are worthy of mention for their 
vocal and instrumental compositions. 

Examining synthetically the tendencies of the 
young Italian musical school, stress must be laid 
on the circumstance that it aims at a greater 
nobility and severity of style and an increased 
elaboration of form. The days are ended of light 
soulless tunes, of easy melodies, of careless form. 
There is to-day in Italy a far higher conception 
of music than existed formerly, taste has become 



284 Tripoli and Young Italy 

refined, and the science of harmonics and counter- 
point is more diffused. On this account, even 
among those modern composers whose flights of 
imagination are not of the highest character, their 
music is pervaded nevertheless by a dignity of 
form and conception and an attention to proper 
harmonisation and instrumentation that was 
entirely lacking formerly. In these later years 
musical history has been much studied from its 
aesthetic and critical side, and there is now 
manifest in these studies, which till recently 
were very superficial in Italy, an extreme care 
in the examination of documents, and in drawing 
conclusions, and an acuteness of investigation 
that is remarkable. Largely instrumental in 
obtaining this result has been the Associazione 
dei Musicologi Italiani, founded in 1908, which 
aims at cataloguing the whole musical patrimony 
stored in public and private libraries, in the 
archives, the churches, the convents of Italy, 
and also is beginning to publish some of the 
most remarkable productions of the old musical 
art, thus exhuming many ancient Capilavori. 



CHAPTER X 
NATIONALIST ITALY 

NATIONALISM, as a broad principle and 
not a narrow, political creed, has come 
to be recognised as a driving force in Italy to- 
day, and it has played no small part in the recent 
stirring events. It might almost be said that 
the people yet only half-consciously appreciate 
the bigness of this force, which in the Jubilee 
of United Italy shook the country from the 
torpor which had succeeded the exhausting 
struggle to free itself from the Austrian yoke, 
and roused it to some realisation of its responsi- 
bilities and opportunities. In some other coun- 
tries Nationalism stands for reaction, the people's 
patriotism is exploited for party purposes, and 
what should be an accelerating movement is but 
a clog on the wheel of progress. But the Italian 
Nationalism, while it has not escaped the sus- 
picion that it would eventually prove to be no 

better than the reactionist Nationalism of other 

285 



286 Tripoli and Young Italy 

countries, is really the old Nationalism redivivus, , 
the spirit and the force which brought about 
Italy's freedom, but which for various reasons 
has been practically dormant for many years. 

The Marquis di San Giuliano claims that it 
was Italy who taught the world the principle 
of nationality. Lecturing at Oxford University, 
and referring to the events preceding Italy's 
independence and unity, he said that it was 
Mancini, appointed lecturer for International Law 
at the University of Turin, who proclaimed for 
the first time, officially and solemnly from the 
chair, that the rational basis of International Law 
is the principle of nationality — namely, the right 
that each people, bound together by ties of blood, 
language, and territory, have to dispose of their 
destiny, shaking off foreign yokes, and doing 
away with their internal boundaries. "In a 
lecture dealing with Italy's place in the world's 
history, it is impossible to pass over the immense 
influence which this doctrine — (originated in 
Italy, and inspired by her own conditions and 
needs) — has exercised on the history of Europe 
during the second half of the nineteenth century, 
and is now exercising in different forms beyond 
the boundaries of Europe. To the power of 
this principle, and the natural, ethnical, and geo- 



Nationalist Italy 287 

graphical causes to which it owes its efficiency, 
no less than to the intrinsic power of the idea 
of freedom, another fact is due, which at first 
sight seems to approach the miraculous : that, 
from 1849 until September 20, 1870, when Rome 
became her capital, Italy pressed on towards her 
goal of independence, unity, and freedom — even 
when falling into error, even when the fortune 
of war was against her. This is an encouraging 
phenomenon, for it proves that the power of 
ideas, the power of truth and justice, remains, 
after all, the strongest force in history — the force 
for which in ultimate analysis, in spite of all 
vicissitudes, the final victory is reserved." 

But Italian unity was not yet complete. 
Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Cavour had worked 
wonders in realising their dreams of independ- 
ence from the Austrian yoke; but although North 
had been reconciled to South, and the greater 
part of Italy willingly acknowledged the rule of 
Victor Emmanuel, there were still unredeemed 
provinces in the North, with populations even 
more intensely and passionately Italian than those 
within the new Kingdom. And when, exhausted 
by its wars, the country inevitably began to 
think less of its nationality and more of its 
domestic affairs, it was due a great deal to the 



288 Tripoli and Young Italy 

old Irredentists that the flame of Nationalism 
was kept alive. Seemingly impossible as the 
dreams of these irreconcilables were, their very- 
persistence served to keep in rtiind among the 
whole Italian nation what their nationhood had 
cost them, and how jealously it must be guarded. 
When the last great division of the earth was 
made, there was shown then as little regard for the 
rights of smaller peoples as there is to-day, and 
the Trentino was handed over to Austria without 
so much as a '* by-your-leave " to the Italian 
population. Six years later, after much fighting, 
Trent was captured by the Italians, but in 1813 
it was again handed over to the Austrians, who 
have kept a tight grip on it until this day. 
Garibaldi might have regained the Trentino for 
Italy when he was about the whole business - 
of uniting his country, but his famous " I obey," 
when he was ordered to desist, ended any hope 
of redemption by resort to arms. 

Since that date, however black the Austrians 
endeavour to paint the case against the Irre- 
dentists, there has been no definite agitation of 
a separatist kind, although, of course, the Italians, 
who saw their language and nationality being 
threatened by the wave of Germanism, never 
ceased to dream of a day when they should be 



Nationalist Italy 289 

joined to the Fatherland. They merely agitated 
for an autonomous administration, such as is 
allowed to other nationalities forming the 
"mosaic" of the Austrian Empire. They were 
tied to the Tyrolese in the Diet at Innsbruck, 
who have never failed, because of their superior 
number, to tyrannise over the Italians. And it 
made matters no easier when the Trentino 
members withdrew from the Diet for a time in 
protest. In 1874 Austria promised them a 
separate Diet, and the promise was often re- 
peated ; but it has never been fulfilled. And 
insist as they might by all legal measures — for the 
laws allow them to foster their own language — 
they have had to submit to one long series of 
persecutions at the hands of the Tyrolese, who, 
intense Catholics as they are, have thought to 
serve the Church by persecuting the Italians. 
The same thing has happened in Trieste, I stria, 
and Dalmatia, only there the pressure comes 
from the Slavs, who subsidise several active 
societies, of which the leading one is the Santi 
Cirillo e Metodio. 

In 1886 the Pro Patria Society, which was 
permitted by the constitution of the Empire, was 
founded by the Italians for the purpose of de- 
fending their language and culture by the 
19 



290 Tripoli and Young Italy 

establishment of schools and kindergartens. The 
progress of the Society was rapid, and its objects 
found ready support throughout Italy. In one 
year there had been established 64 groups. In 
1890, however, the Society was dissolved quite 
unexpectedly by order of the police. Petty per- 
secutions followed. Giuseppe Borghetti, who 
had been editing an Italian newspaper in the 
Trentino for many years, and had been most 
scrupulous to spare the susceptibilities of the 
authorities, was suddenly ordered to leave the 
country, and his paper was confiscated. The 
reason given was that in one issue, in speaking of 
the Emperor, he had a small ** i " for Imperatore, 
while he had used a capital " R " in speaking of 
the King of Italy ! The matter was brought up 
in the Italian Parliament, but the reply, of course, 
was that the Italian Government had no jurisdic- 
tion outside its own borders. The Irredentists 
were ever a troublesome thorn in the side of the 
Italian Government, who, out of regard for their 
Austrian ally, had always to scold and condemn 
the aspirations of these exiled Italians. Great 
difficulty was experienced in getting a Dante 
monument erected in Trent, but the strength of 
the support that was forthcoming from the Italian 
nation, organised and stimulated by Pasquale 



Nationalist Italy 291 

Villari and Roggiero Bonghi, overcame the 
Austrian objections. Villari once declared that 
the Germans were only doing their duty in trying 
to Germanise all the peoples within their borders, 
and it was the duty of the Italians to imitate 
them if they were not absolutely indifferent to 
their own Fatherland and their own race. 

As a lineal successor to " Pro Patria," the 
•' Lega Nazionale " was founded in 1892, with a 
federation of societies from the five Austro- 
Italian provinces of Trentino, Trieste, Istria, 
Friuli, and Dalmatia. Its avowed object is the 
upkeep of the Italian language and civilisation 
in provinces which for twenty centuries were 
Italian. The local groups are under the control 
of a central authority which fixes its headquarters 
alternately in Trent and in Trieste. After ten 
years' work, the League had 21 schools and 
subsidised 8 more, besides 131 groups and 24,000 
members, with property estimated at 400,000 
kroner. After twenty years they own 74 
scholastic institutions besides the important 
boarding-school of Nicolo Tommaseo at Zara, 
136 other schools are subsidised, 153 libraries 
have been established, 250 University and 
secondary scholarships founded; there are 177 
local groups, with 40,000 members, and property 



292 Tripoli and Young Italy 

of over 1 ,000,000 kroner. The League claims to 
have united the Italians in these separated 
territories in one bond of sympathy and love of 
Fatherland, in which political and religious 
differences are forgotten. It claims to have no 
ulterior political motive in its propaganda, and that 
its every act is open ; — its only purpose being to 
act as a loyal and legitimate guardian of the 
Italian language, and to hold high its standard of 
civilisation ; — and that it is not only sanctioned 
by law, but by a sense of ethnical and ethical 
justice. 

Another powerful Nationalist institution, the 
Dante Alighieri Society, was founded more than 
twenty years ago, principally for the purpose of 
keeping in use the language of the divine Dante 
among emigrants abroad, but also to see that it 
should not be subverted by other languages in 
territories that were ethnographically Italian. 
The Society calculates that there are about 
6,000,000 Italians abroad who may be termed 
temporary emigrants. Of these, there are 
170,000 in Algiers and Tunisia, 2,000,000 
in North America and 3,000,000 in South 
America. In 19 10 the Society had a yearly 
membership of 55,000, besides a large number of 
life members and an income of 400,000 lire, which 



Nationalist Italy 293 

has been augmented by legacies. There are 212 
local committees in the Kingdom and "jT) abroad. 
They have infant-schools in Marseilles and Toulon, 
and emigrant secretaries in all the important 
ports to look after Italian immigrants when they 
land. They have promoted libraries, schools, 
social institutions, and lectures, and have in other 
ways sought to promote the material and moral 
well-being of Italians abroad. In the books they 
issue, they seek to keep the love for Fatherland 
a living force, and do everything they can to 
prevent the Italians and their language being 
assimilated by other peoples and lost to the home- 
land. The good work being done by the Society 
has been recognised by the Government, and 
among the people generally it is a firmly 
established institution. 

In 1903 another society, the " Trento and 
Trieste," was founded, and in a letter to Professor 
Villari, the President of the Lega Nazionale, 
Signor Bruno Canera di Salasco pointed out 
that the new Society was not to compete with 
the League, but, seeing that the League occupied 
itself with the Italian peoples all over the world, 
the need had been felt for a more concentrated 
organisation, confining its work strictly to 
Austrian Italy. But great as is the work being 



294 Tripoli and Young Italy 

done by these societies, it is more than swamped 
by the Pan-German societies in Austrian Italy, the 
chief of these being the " Schulverein." These 
societies have in the Trentino and Trieste 
districts alone a membership of 230,000, and 
an income of 1,600,000 kroner. The work they 
do is five times more than the Italian societies 
can do, although in the Trentino only 5,000 out 
of 350,000 inhabitants speak German or German 
dialects ; and with plenty of German capital for 
schools, libraries, recreation-rooms, and social 
equipment, they win the Italians over, of course, 
in large numbers. Even patriots cannot with- 
stand the temptation of first-class educational 
equipment for their children. The Austrians 
have not adopted the dragooning methods of 
the Prussians in Poland, because it would be 
unprofitable; but in Dalmatia Italian families are 
not permitted, even at their own expense, to 
employ for their children, teachers who have taken 
their certificates in Italy. 

The matter of University education is a great 
grievance among the Austrian Italians. Every 
year there are nearly a thousand students who 
wish to pursue higher studies, but they are 
obliged either to study in Germany or take 
degrees in Italy which Austria will not recognise, 



Nationalist Italy 295 

Over and over again the Government promised 
them a University at Trieste. The best sub- 
stitute the Italian students in Innsbruck could 
have was a series of lectures by Italian pro- 
fessors, and some of Italy's leading men gladly 
went to Innsbruck to deliver these lectures. 
But the authorities got uneasy about it, and 
instigated persecution, the German students 
availing themselves of their impunity to make 
life a burden to their Italian fellow-students. In 
November 1903, de Gubernatis had just mounted 
the platform to give a lecture on the harmless 
subject of " Petrarch," when the room was 
invaded by police with fixed bayonets, followed 
by German students with staves. The sequel 
was twenty Italian students wounded, the lecturer 
just managing to escape to the railway station, 
and 100 Italian students imprisoned. That was 
the end of the lectures in Italian. In Vienna 
in 1908 there was a similar episode, 2,000 
other students, assisted by fifty gendarmerie, 
"beating up" 290 Italian students. The 
demands for an Italian University were renewed, 
and at last a Faculty of Law at Vienna was 
promised ; but even that has never materialised. 
At times the authorities have become panic- 
stricken, and the most petty persecutions have 



296 Tripoli and Young Italy 

followed, such as, for instance, the refusal to allow 
the Italian gymnastic club in Trieste to hold 
its exhibition because there were said to be 
bombs about the place ! As recently as Janu- 
ary 27 of this year Senator Guido Mazzoni was 
to give a lecture to the Italian students at 
Trieste on " The Students of the Middle Ages." 
The police demanded to see the lecturer's manu- 
script beforehand, but this was refused, for the 
good reason that there was none, and as the 
Lega Nazionale would not make themselves 
responsible for any rioting that might take 
place, the lecture was prohibited. There is no 
doubt as to the spirit entertained by the majority 
of Austrians towards Italy. 

In view, therefore, of this wave of Pan- 
Germanism, which threatened not only to 
Germanise Austrian Italy, but to spread itself 
right along the Adriatic, there were many Italians, 
especially among the younger men, who did not 
place much faith in benevolent societies for 
protecting their nationality. Parliament was 
moribund, and when it was not engaged in 
squaring its own petty, personal squabbles, it 
was — such was the charge against them — being 
led by the peace-at-any-price people, who openly 
declared that Italy had nothing to do with 



Nationalist Italy 297 

affairs outside her own borders. Foreign policy 
was non-existent, except a cap-in-hand attitude 
towards Germany and Austria, which culminated 
in the acquiescence without compensation in the 
annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 
Young Nationalists, as they called themselves, 
could stand this condition of things no longer. 
Several most able writers started the journal 
// Regno, in which, although no very positive 
ideas were put forward, there appeared the most 
scathing attacks upon the Parliamentarians, 
attacks which very often lost their force by the 
virulence of their language. But it was plain 
that there was a revolt afoot, and its unceasing 
criticism undoubtedly livened up things in the 
most high places. The scattered forces of 
discontent were finally brought together into 
the Nationalist Association, the few isolated 
organs were merged into LIdea Nazionale, 
which soon had an extensive circulation, and 
the Nationalists set to work to outline a definite, 
positive policy ; for the greater part of the 
criticism levelled against them was that they did 
not seem to know what they were driving at. 
Rising young writers and men of already 
established reputation joined the movement, 
among the chief of them being Enrico Corradini, 



298 Tripoli and Young Italy 

M. Maraviglia, Scipio Sighele, Giulio de Frenzi, 
F. Carli, Luigi Villari, M. P. Negrotto, G. 
Castellani, and Goffredo Bellonci. In the words 
of one of them, the Nationalists set out to 
discover the great heroic Italian soul, which they 
believed not to be lost, but only overlaid. 

" The stormy petrel of Nationalism " is Enrico 
Corradini, journalist and novelist, whose name 
is truly a household word. He first gave voice 
to the new movement in his novels, although 
he denied any political intent. His " La Guerra 
Lontana " deals with the Abyssinian campaign, 
and Italy's disgraceful acceptance of the defeat 
of Adowa without insisting on the revanche 
necessary to restore her prestige. The Times, 
in speaking of this novel, said : " Certain pas- 
sages rise high above the average level of 
modern fiction ; the account of the effect which 
the news of Adowa produced in Rome is terrible 
in its tragic poignancy ; to Italian readers it is 
heartrending. To have written such a book 
implies moral courage and patriotism of no mean 
order, as well as literary power. There is no 
doubt that the author is coming to be a real 
force in modern Italy." But Corradini was not 
content to write novels. From South America 
he had sent stirring letters home urging the 



Nationalist Italy 299 

necessity for arousing national feeling among 
the emigrants in distant lands. And then, last 
year, he went to Tripoli, from whence he sent 
letters to the home journals describing what 
he saw ; how the remains of Roman civilisation 
stirred him to anger against an Italian Govern- 
ment which seemed quite content to allow the 
land of his forefathers to remain in the hands 
of the Turk. He sought to make the Italians 
realise that their plain duty was to go to Tripoli 
without delay, if Libya, as well as Tunis and 
Morocco, was not to be lost to them. 

Corradini has also written a great deal on 
the need for a quickening in Italian life by the 
development of a real Nationalist spirit. He 
contends that just as there are proletarian classes, 
there are proletarian nations, nations in a condi- 
tion of inferiority. Italy is a proletarian nation. 
Her emigration figures alone prove this ; she 
provides the working proletariate for the whole 
world. Nationalism, he believes, will rouse her 
from this servile state, but she must pursue a 
policy of " nation," just as the Socialists pursue 
a policy of "class." The Socialists are rousing 
the proletariate to class-consciousness ; Nation- 
alism must rouse Italy to nation-consciousness. 
She must develop a combative spirit ; what she 



300 Tripoli and Young Italy 

wants is a tonic, and a war would do her health 
good. Corradini does not beat about the bush ; 
he insists in plain language that "unless Italy- 
has a war, she will never be a nation." To that 
end, and in order that preparations might be 
made for it, the Nationalists were willing to 
make a " truce of God " with all internal factions, 
even with the Socialists. The peoples who have 
become nations have become so through a war. 
" Just as Socialism has redeemed the proletariate, 
so Nationalism will be our method of redemption 
from the French, German, English, North and 
South Americans, who are our bourgeoisie. Just 
as the methods of Socialism were strife, and they 
looked to the general strike to emancipate them 
from exploitation, the methods of Nationalism 
must be war, or the preparation of themselves 
for war. Nationalism was but the logical out- 
come of Socialism. The Nationalists took up 
the struggle where Socialism left off. But, of 
course, their purpose was a greater one ; instead 
of a class, they thought of the whole nation ; 
instead of the bourgeoisie, the world." 

This was a novel kind of logic to be hurled 
at a go-as-you-please people, who affected to 
treat the whole thing as a joke, or at best as 
the "hot air" of a few young "bloods" whose 



Nationalist Italy 301 

brains would get cooler as they grew older. But 
there was a refreshing breeziness and vigour 
about the way in which the Nationalists carried 
on their propaganda, and the theories they pro- 
pounded ; and they showed no sign of abatement 
of enthusiasm because there seemed nobody ready 
to put up a fight against them. They knew that 
their biggest enemy was apathy, the indifiference 
of the majority of Italians as to what happened 
to the country so long as their own individual 
careers and comforts were not interfered with. In 
season and out of season they hammered away 
with speech, newspaper, and pamphlet ; and were 
naturally delighted when the Socialists here and 
there showed fight, because it set the common 
people listening. They declared that the Inter- 
nationalism of the Socialists was the rankest 
anti-patriotism, and ridiculed the philosophy 
which sought to make out Socialism as the 
purest of love for the Fatherland. In some 
instances the ardour of the combatants led them 
to blows ; and there were " shindies " in which 
an Irish Nationalist would have gloried. The 
more responsible people in the land began to 
sit up and take notice ; and by the time the 
Nationalist Conference was held in Florence, 
a large number of prominent public men, while 



302 Tripoli and Young Italy 

declining directly to associate themselves as 
Nationalists, because of the suspicion that it was 
a party game, openly endorsed the principles 
enunciated. 

Professor Sighele, " the philosopher of the 
movement," dealt in several books with the argu- 
ment, advanced with contempt, that Nationalism 
is merely " a literary movement." He showed 
that, while preparation and intellectual incubation 
are necessary for the birth of every vital political 
movement, the coincidence sometimes happens 
that the thought of a few suddenly finds itself in 
unison with the sentiment of the people. For 
Nationalism this coincidence took place three 
years ago ; and Sighele narrates how, at the end 
of 1908, Austria tore up the Treaty of Berlin and 
annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. He charged 
Tittoni, then the Minister for Foreign Affairs, 
with committing a crime against Italy in appeasing 
her natural outburst of anger by exaggerated pro- 
mises of compensation which never materialised, 
and which he knew would never materialise. This 
was the culmination of a series of renunciations 
which had for years humiliated Italian diplomacy. 
But out of this humiliation came a reaction of 
courage and the dawn of a national conscience. 
" A man had fallen, but a nation had risen." The 



N ationalist Italy 3Q3 

intuition of the people found itself in complete 
accord with the meditated theory of the Nation- 
alists, and the propaganda of Nationalism began 
to flourish. 

Several incidents occurred in Parliament to 
show how the influence of the new thought was 
spreading, speeches being made by Alessandro 
Fortis, Barzilai, and Enrico Ferri, men widely 
separate in political thought, all voicing the great 
need for Italy to assert her nationhood. Barzilai's 
forceful arguments won many to the support of 
increased armaments ; and Ferri, pacificist as he 
was, declared that the destiny of the country 
depended upon the character of the influence it 
could exercise outside its own confines, Italian 
Socialism, he urged, must shed its antiquated 
ideas and, like German Socialism, reconcile love 
to its country with love to humanity in general. 
As Sighele put it, the attitude of the Italians has 
been one of abject gratefulness to other nations 
for allowing them to live, and what base in- 
gratitude it would be for them to think of lifting 
up their eyes from their own country ! Far 
better be silent and work at home, with no higher 
ambition than perhaps to surpass the Swiss as 
hotel-keepers! " No," he insists, " Italy must be 
Imperialist in order to prevent the closing up of 



304 Tripoli and Young Italy 

all those openings whence the nation receives its 
oxygen, to prevent the Adriatic from becoming 
more and more an Austrian lake, to prevent even 
the Mediterranean from being closed around us 
like a camp guarded by hostile sentinels, and to 
provide a field of activity for our emigrants wherein 
they will enjoy that protection which they now 
lack, and which can only be provided by a bold 
foreign policy, a thorough preparation for war, 
and a clear Imperialist attitute on the part of the 
rulers of the State." 

Two currents were distinguished by Professor 
Sighele in the early stages of the movement. A 
number of men were Nationalists for aesthetic 
rather than for practical reasons ; their Nationalism 
was a literary and aristocratic phenomenon — a 
classicism. They dreamed of Nationalism and 
Imperialism as one dreams of perfect works of 
art. The other school was composed of solitary 
men of science, who, with a more realistic sense 
of life, urged a vigorous propaganda to regain for 
Italy her pride and force, so that she could not 
only correct her badly defined confines, but expand 
where other nations were encroaching with less 
right than she had. The first school was Conserva- 
tive-Imperialist, while the second was Democratic- 
Irredentist. But at the Conference all suggestions 



Nationalist Italy 305 

of party demarcation were entirely obliterated ; 
the delegates' enthusiasm for their common grand 
idea drowned all the miserable little political 
differences. It was inevitable, Sighele argued, 
that in the beginning Nationalism should take an 
anti-Austrian attitude, but later on it would have 
to renounce that for a fuller policy ; the 
Nationalists would have to interest themselves 
in the afifairs of the Italian subjects distributed 
all over the world, and infuse into them pride in 
the position their country occupied in the eyes 
of the world and in the work it was accomplish- 
ing. " The Italians do not possess a collective, 
national conscience, and the formation of this 
conscience must be the first aim of Nationalism." 
It was Giulio de Frenzi, a Bolognese journalist 
on the staff of the Giornale cV Italia, who took the 
first step towards putting Nationalism on a prac- 
tical basis, and the first Conference, held in 
Florence a year ago, was attended by several hun- 
dred eager, enthusiastic men, over whose often very 
heated deliberations presided Professor Sighele. 
Naturally, such a Conference excited the widest 
interest, and its discussions were reported at con- 
siderable length in all the leading newspapers, which 
had begun to pat the young men on the back, and 
were read with an avidity for which the piquant 
20 



3o6 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
disputes were not alone responsible. The people 
were realising that there was " something doing." 
If they had never realised it before, they were 
now made to feel ashamed of the servile attitude 
adopted by Italy in her foreign affairs ; they were 
told that the contempt openly displayed for their 
country in diplomatic encounters, even by Turkey, 
was due to the fact that they had no army or 
navy powerful enough to win that respect which 
was necessary to successful diplomacy. The 
Triple Alliance was, metaphorically speaking, torn 
to shreds, and shown up as a thing which was 
chiefly responsible for Italy's degraded prestige, 
and each one of the Foreign Ministers who had 
had the misfortune to succeed Crispi was subjected 
to a " wigging." Even San Giuliano did not 
escape scot free. Why did he tolerate the trucu- 
lence of the Turks and pursue a timid policy 
which would end in Tripoli being as lost to the 
Italians as Tunis.-* If he were persuaded by 
some of the speakers, he would go to Tripoli at 
once, and make no bones about it. They would 
only have to sound the Italian trumpets and the 
walls of Tripoli would fall down. In this respect, 
as events have shown, they were lamentably out 
of reckoning. The ardent Nationalist journalists 
who had been to Tripoli to spy out the land had 



Nationalist Italy 307 

got the impression that a handful of troops would 
accomplish all that was necessary, that the Arabs 
were longing to fall on the necks of the Italians 
as brothers, and that the few thousand Turks 
would readily quit, glad to be rid of a troublesome 
responsibility. Such were the exaggerations of 
the ease with which Italy could make a colonial 
conquest, into which the Young Italians were led by 
their impatience. It was fortunate for Italy that 
Giolitti, San Giuliano, Spingardi, and Cattolica, 
knew their business better ; but in their delightful 
impartiality and irresponsibility the Nationalists 
•• lambasted " right and left without fear or favour, 
without respect of persons. Corradini, in one of 
his books, demands : " When our generation 
shall be in power, shall we know how to make 
good the errors of the past ? For the present we 
are obliged to go about the world with blushes on 
our faces, ashamed for that which has been com- 
mitted, and afraid for that which may be done. 
We have become a laughing-stock. People have 
dared to cover with infamy the beautiful body of 
Italy because we have been left in the hands of 
antique Ministers, without souls, without hair, and 
without teeth ; in the hands of a lot of dirty 
bureaucrats covered with dust and ink, whose sole 
anxiety is to lay their hands upon booty." 



3o8 Tripoli and Young Italy 

The speakers at the Conference were par- 
ticularly severe upon the peace-at-any-price policy. 
They handled the subject of war with their 
gloves ofiT Without signifying any particular 
enemy, they insisted that a war was necessary 
to save the soul of Italy. Sighele quoted Anatole 
France, a Socialist, who had declared " Supprimez 
les vertus militaires, et toute la soci^t6 civile 
s'^croule." War was the author of virtues im- 
possible to peace, a condition of life necessary 
to national progress : " My country right or 
wrong." The citizen's first duty was towards his 
own country ; his duty towards humanity took 
second place. " We wish that the idea of war 
should enter into the spirit of the people," urged 
Maurizio Maraviglia, " because we know that to 
overburden ourselves with armaments is not sufifi- 
cient to avoid it, and still less to win it. To 
desire war sometimes means winning without 
fighting ; not to desire it means fighting against 
our own will or losing without striking a blow ; 
to educate the country to the sentiment of war 
does not mean that we should provoke it at all 
costs — it merely means that we must create a 
state of mind and fact such as will enable the 
Government to conduct its foreign policy without 
misgivings, in the certainty that other countries 



Nationalist Italy 309 

will feel convinced that our international activity 
will never be arrested by the necessity of having 
to accept or declare war." 

The crisis of 1908 was fixed upon by de Frenzi 
as the point of departure towards a sane foreign 
policy. It was then that there sprang up in the 
national conscience an aspiration to become a 
military force ; they realised that until they 
became one they would never be respected. 
Although they had a bad fall through Tittoni's 
weakness over Bosnia and Herzegovina, the spirit 
displayed by the people of Italy put an end once 
for all to Germany's dictatorial attitude. And 
he insisted that the stronger Italy became in 
arms, the more she would be respected. On 
the chess-board of the Balkans they had always 
been checkmated by Austria, either directly by 
her pressing towards the ^gean, or indirectly 
by her pretending that it was Turkey who desired 
to disturb the already unstable equilibrium of 
the Adriatic. It could not be denied that the 
political interests of Austria and Italy in that 
quarter were irreconcilable. The aggravation of 
the peril of the Italian position by the great 
activity of innumerable Austrian agents in Albania 
rendered it imperative that Italy should take a 
firm stand in the matter, and by the increase of 



310 Tripoli and Young Italy 

her armed forces let it be known that this policy- 
could not be pushed very far. There was not 
the slightest reason in the world why Italy and 
Austria should not be on good terms with each 
other — nay, it was to their common interest ; 
but good relations were only possible when both 
sides respected each other. Italy could tolerate 
a policy of deference and loyalty, but not of 
servility. 

Naturally, the new movement developed a 
distinctly anti-Turkish tendency, the more so 
as it became obvious that the hopes, entertained 
by Italy as well as by the rest of the world, 
that the Young Turks were seriously bent on 
reform, had been shamefully betrayed. Of 
course, the Italian Foreign Office was perfectly 
well aware of the way things were drifting, and 
thoroughly cognisant of Turkey's dealings with 
Germany ; but the Nationalists chafed against 
the Turkish insults to Italian prestige, and 
did not hesitate to give the Foreign Office a 
piece of their mind. Far from resenting this, 
the Foreign Office was gratified, because in so 
far as the Nationalists were expressing the public 
will they were only supporting the Government's 
policy, which of course could not be wrecked by 
too precipitate action. The charge against the 



Nationalist Italy an 

Government, that it feared to alienate its Socialist 
supporters by seeming to favour territorial expan- 
sion, was absurd ; but any stick was good enough 
to beat the Government with when the country 
was inflamed against Turkey. 

The Panther precipitated matters, and the 
Government recognised its opportunity ; but while, 
in the light of history and the Government's 
astonishing preparedness, it cannot be denied that 
the Nationalists had a great deal to do with ripen- 
ing public opinion on the matter, it is obviously 
too much to claim that they alone are responsible 
for Italy going to Tripoli. Naturally, when the 
war had broken out, it brought about a state of 
public feeling which was fertile ground for the 
propaganda of Nationalism, and the subsequent 
rise in Italian prestige gave the new movement 
plenty of reason for saying : " Didn't we tell you 
so?" The Nationalists have undoubtedly done 
the country good, and there is nobody more 
gratified than the heads of the Government for 
the stirring up of the dry bones of Parliamentary 
life. They know better than anybody else how 
difficult it is to get any consecutive work done 
with the numerous incongruous elements con- 
stituting Parliament, the harmonising of which, 
although absolutely necessary if anything is to 



312 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
be done at all, absorbs so much of the time and 
energies of responsible Ministers. 

With the reawakening of the national spirit 
there came a greater regard for Italy's children 
across the seas, and so much attention is now 
being paid to their welfare that the emigrants are 
being called " spoiled darlings." That so many 
Italians should be obliged to go abroad to earn 
their daily bread has not been an absolutely dead 
loss to the Fatherland, as we have seen from the 
savings they send home, and the progressive spirit 
they bring back with them when they return ; but it 
has been a great loss nevertheless. And not long 
ago Italy gave the Argentine Government a very 
sharp lesson for not seeming to appreciate the 
sacrifice that the homeland was making in send- 
ing millions of her sons to build up the Argentine. 
It was one of the biggest shocks that the South 
American Republic could have, when, in return 
for their hectoring, Italy promptly shut down the 
supply of labour, without which Argentine crops 
would have been in a pretty pickle. Needless 
to say, the Republic was quickly brought to its 
senses, although, like every other nation, it 
had never dreamed that the meek and submissive 
Italians were capable of such a national temper 
and will. 



Nationalist Italy 3U 

The Foreign Office, in a scheme recently out- 
lined and sent out to all the "Chancelleries" and 
all the Consular Agents abroad, is extending this 
policy, which has come to be known as " Italianita." 
Not only is a numerical census to be taken of 
Italians abroad, but a complete record is to be 
prepared of their economic condition ; the in- 
fluence they have in the countries where they 
live, both as workmen and as capitalists ; what 
part they play in politics ; the state of their 
education, and how it compares with the educa- 
tion of the people they live among ; what 
facilities they have for social life ; thrift societies, 
charities, savings'-banks, cOHDperative societies, 
libraries, schools, and gymnasia ; in fact, particu- 
lars as to every phase of their lives, and as to 
what terms they are on with the nations amongst 
whom they dwell. When completed, the Govern- 
ment at home will be able to estimate approxi- 
mately what part Greater Italy is playing in the 
world, and will be the better able to carry on 
the propaganda of" Italianita," and to ensure that 
the language and culture and the lives of the 
emigrants may not altogether be lost to the mother 
country. Italy's biggest export is labour, and she 
is going to see that this export is marketed to the 
best advantage. In the future, it is not going to 



314 Tripoli and Young Italy 

be the " cheap Dago labour " it has been in the 
past. With the revival of self-respect at home, 
the Italian abroad is also going to demand 
respect, and if the foreigner wants his labour he 
will have to pay a fair wage, especially now that 
Italy has a colony of her own, promising recom- 
pense for honest toil. That is the meaning of 
Nationalism so far as the sons of Italy abroad 
are concerned. In the homeland Nationalism 
means that Italy has again discovered her soul : 
that she is realising anew the grandeur of the 
ideal which inspired Mazzini and Cavour, and 
inspirited Garibaldi and the liberators who fought 
for a free Italy. It will be a great pity if that 
ideal is degraded into a mere party cry and is 
besmirched in the muddy pool of politics. 



CHAPTER XI 

ITALY AND EUROPE 

ITALY is now destined to play a bigger part 
in European politics. It is generally 
agreed that she has achieved an extraordinary 
rise in prestige by her Tripoli expedition ; that 
she is in a fair way to becoming a World Power. 
Not only has she developed self-respect, but 
she has compelled other nations to respect her. 
She is being wooed on all sides. Whereas in 
October every man's hand was against her, 
to-day her praises are sung in Britain, France, 
Germany, and even Austria. They are all 
saying that " they told you so," and are com- 
peting with each other in the discovery of new 
and wonderful traits in the Italian nation which 
will operate for the good of humanity. There 
never was such a paragon of virtues. Her 
surprising financial recovery, her rapid industrial 
and agricultural development, her efficient army 
and navy, were not surprising after all — they 



3i6 Tripoli and Young Italy 

were to be expected from such a virile, intelligent 
people like the Italians ! 

All this is proving very pleasant indeed to 
Young Italy, but her flatterers will make a great 
mistake if they imagine it will turn her head. 
It is gratifying to have the Foreign Minister 
of a powerful country paying calls in Rome 
instead of condescending to a casual rendezvous 
on the Riviera ; but Italy is making people 
understand that she is receiving no more than 
is her due, especially considering the scanty 
respect she has received in the past. Conscious 
of the guiding qualities of her democratic King, 
of the capacity and trustworthiness of her 
Ministers, and joyously conscious of her new- 
found strength, she has set her face towards 
the future, full of self-confidence and faith in 
her great destiny. 

The balance of power is now the chief concern 
of European diplomatists and the nightmare of 
Foreign Ministers. One combination of countries 
has to be played off against another, and, when- 
ever anything happens to upset the equilibrium, 
Europe is within a few hours of universal war. 
The lust for aggrandisement of one or two huge 
military organisations, pushed from behind by 
the most sordid financial interests, keeps the 



Italy and Europe 317 

whole Continent in a perpetual sweat of fear 
lest civilisation should be plunged into a welter 
of blood. The mind reels, the body involuntarily 
shudders, when the terrible possibilities are com- 
prehended, and one has to keep a firm grip on 
one's optimism lest fatalistic despair should add 
to the strong torrent of decadent tendencies. 

Willy-nilly, Italy now finds herself irresistibly 
thrust forward to take a bigger share in the 
truly awful responsibility placed upon the Euro- 
pean Governments. And as much to her own 
surprise as to the chagrin of some other people 
she discovers that the whirligig of events, 
and her resoluteness in playing her own hand 
in the Tripoli affair, have placed the balance 
of power very much at her disposal. It is a 
trying position for a young nation to be suddenly 
thrust into ; it will tax her statesmanship to the 
utmost, and will demand qualities of which, up 
to recent days, her statesmen have not shown 
themselves to be possessed — possibly for the 
reason that they were not called for. But there 
is an encouraging amount of confidence in her 
present leaders which augurs well, and so far 
they have shown no trace of weakness or of 
susceptibility to the wiles and cajolery of foreign 
diplomacy, although this has been redoubled in 



3i8 Tripoli and Young Italy 

intensity and vigour since Italy has begun 
seriously to count in the councils of Europe. 

The insistent question now is as to what is 
going to happen to the Triple Alliance, about 
which Germany, at any rate, appears to have 
become abjectly alarmed. Italy is in the unusual 
position, for her, of being able to dictate terms, 
unlike the time when Bismarck had only to 
stamp his iron heel to make her come into the 
Alliance. While she was an undeveloped weak- 
ling, without army or navy worth calling such, 
she was unable to withstand Bismarck's bullying, 
especially when he found it so easy for him to 
frighten her with the French bogey. It was a 
miserable legacy of suspicion and distrust of 
her Latin sister that the Iron Chancellor left 
her, and her very weakness prevented her from 
taking any risks in the matter. To-day the 
tables are completely turned. France is a tried 
friend ; Germany can browbeat no longer, and 
has to adopt a pleading r61e ; while Italy is in 
a position to pick and choose. The question as 
to what her choice will eventually be is probably 
providing a subject of most exhilarating discussion 
in the Cabinets of Europe. 

There surely never was a greater paradox 
than the Triple Alliance, but it has been renewed 



Italy and Europe 319 

three times since 1882, when it was formed 
ostensibly as a safeguard against France on 
the one hand, and Russia on the other. But 
it will take longer than fifty years to wipe out 
the reciprocal hatred between Austria and Italy, 
and it has always been understood that the latter 
has renewed her partnership because she desired 
to be saved from her friends. There has always 
been a great deal of bathos when the time arrives 
for the renewal of the Alliance, and Austrian 
Ministers, with hand on heart, have sworn 
extravagant vows of brotherly love and eternal 
affection for Italy, but none the less have not 
failed to strengthen their military hold on Italy's 
unredeemed provinces. And Italy, on the other 
hand, put her trust in the providence of the 
Triplice, but did not forget to keep her powder 
dry. The position would be Gilbertian if it 
were not fraught with so much tragedy. All 
the praiseworthy efforts which have been made 
by men of peace on both sides have apparently 
been of little avail: the Austro- Italian frontier has 
been practically on a war-footing for some time. 

Other events besides Italy's exhibition of un- 
suspected power have been happening during the 
past few months which have given rise to the 
alarm for the fate of the Triplice. We now know 



320 Tripoli and Young Italy 

that at the moment when the Italians had their 
hands full at the beginning of their Tripoli cam- 
paign, they were very near being stabbed in the 
back by their trusted Allies ; and that, but for the 
will of Francis Joseph, and the strength of 
his Minister, Aehrenthal, they would have found 
themselves attacked on their Austrian frontier. 
The anti-Italian Austrians nearly got out of 
hand. They received a rude shock when 
General Conrad was dismissed, but this only 
added fuel to the flames, and Count Aehrenthal 
was subjected to attacks which, for virulence and 
venom, made the contemporaneous attack on 
Sir Edward Grey seem but a pelting of eider- 
down — all because, as the Times said, " he has 
refused to countenance the wild suggestions 
which have been made that Austria- Hungary 
should take advantage of the war between Italy 
and Turkey in order to concentrate an army on 
the Italian frontier and to engage in an aggressive 
policy on her account in the Balkans." It must 
not be forgotten, however, that the Italian pre- 
caution not to weaken her forces on the Austrian 
frontier and on the Adriatic, while draining the 
country of troops for Tripoli, but rather to 
reinforce her garrisons there, may also have con- 
tributed towards staving off the Austrian attack. 



Italy and Europe 321 

Of course, it is denied in Austria that there 
was ever any thought of such a thing, and it 
is urged that the vapourings of a few jingoes 
must not be taken seriously ; but if Italy did 
stand in need of any enlightenment as to 
Austria's real attitude towards her, the campaign 
to hound Aehrenthal out of office certainly 
afforded it, and she no longer desires to know 
why the projected trip of Austrian Liberals to 
Rome was suddenly abandoned. Count Aehren- 
thal found it necessary to explain that " our 
relations with Italy are as unclouded, firm, and 
friendly as our relations with Germany. Thus 
it is that the statesmen who guide our foreign 
policy have nothing to do but strengthen the 
Triple Alliance. The Alliance, however, can be 
an efficacious guarantee of peace only when each 
member of it is completely armed." He did not 
explain, however, why Italy should find herself 
compelled to be " completely armed " against 
Austria, while Italian defences on the French 
frontier are comparatively a matter of indiffer- 
ence. General von Conrad had declared that the 
military and naval programme was but a " miser- 
able crumb," and he and his party demanded more 
armaments against Italy. However absurdly 
mendacious Baron von Fuchs may be in his 
21 



322 Tripoli and Young Italy 

violent attacks upon Italy, the fact that a former 
President of the Austrian Chamber, and the 
leader of the Clericals, did make such statements 
is not without significance, "As soon as the 
war in Tripoli is over," he alleged, " the King 
of Italy will be obliged, by popular hatred 
of Austria, to make an attack on his Austrian 
ally, or to go as a * pensioned monarch into 
exile ! ' " 

The following account of the activities of the 
Austrian "war party," from the Budapester Presse 
of January 21, is illuminating: *' Nobody knows 
what the so-called war party aims at, but every- 
body thinks that it is striving to dissolve the 
Triple Alliance by a war against Italy, in order to 
open the way for a new League of the Three 
Emperors. Why does the General Staff con- 
stantly talk of the necessity of war with Italy, 
especially since the Archduke Francis Ferdinand 
has taken over almost entirely the supreme 
direction of the Army ? It is no secret that the 
Archduke has his own politico-military pro- 
gramme, which he consistently carries out. 
Early last November he made arrangements that 
must have seemed strange to the H of burg and 
to the Ballplatz. Regiments were transported 
to the southern frontier, though there was no 



Italy and Europe 323 

accommodation for them in the Dolomites, and, 
notwithstanding the inclemency of the season, 
officers and men had to be lodged in shanties. 
Count Aehrenthal made representations to the 
Emperor, who sincerely desires peace. His 
Majesty became nervous and called his nephew 
to account. The Archduke replied by submitting 
to the Monarch the announcements concerning 
Italian armaments — and when he had reason to 
fear that his military arrangements would be 
hampered he went suddenly to Berlin and poured 
out his heart to the German Emperor. The 
latter had been informed of the military move- 
ment by Duke GUnther of Schleswig-Holstein, 
who had been travelling in the Dolomites. The 
Emperor William, who is no longer 'the sudden,' 
and has himself Thronfolgersorgen, remained 
cold, and is said to have dissuaded the Archduke, 
who returned disappointed from Berlin. At this 
juncture Count Aehrenthal demanded the retire- 
ment of General Baron von Conrad, and, though 
the Archduke was unable to save his favourite, 
he succeeded in preventing General von Conrad's 
schemes from being completely dropped. The 
work is being continued by General Schemua, 
the new Chief of the General Staff. At the 
moment of Baron von Conrad's retirement the 



324 Tripoli and Young Italy 

Archduke held an all-night ' council of war ' in 
the Belvedere. The representatives of Christian 
Socialist organs (anti- Italian Clericals) were 
received at 4 a.m." No refutation has been 
made of this expos^, although an interpellation 
as to the truth of this article was made in the 
Lower Austrian Diet. 

The Times Vienna correspondent suggests that 
the pernicious nonsense concerning an Italian 
revolution is merely the outcome of cosmopolitan 
financial resentment of the disturbance of finan- 
cial interests in Turkey by the expedition to 
Tripoli. "The Italian people well knows that 
neither it nor its Government entertains aggres- 
sive designs against Austria, and will naturally 
inquire whether some other purpose than that of 
the removal of a Minister be not hidden behind 
the systematic misrepresentation of the position 
in Italy — misrepresentation carried on, not only 
in Austrian military and clerical circles, but in 
financial circles in several countries." 

The fear of the Germans and Austrians that 
Italy may be lost to the Triplice, now that she is 
worth having as an ally, is leading them into all sorts 
of avowals. It is explained now that the '* cool- 
ness " against Italy at the opening of her war 
with Turkey was due to the fact that they were 



Italy and Europe 325 

at first more apprehensive of the effect it might 
have upon European peace than of the need for 
expansion of a people which had refound its 
youthful virility. This necessity they now fully 
recognise, and rejoice with Italy in her enhanced 
prestige. They blame the Irredentists for much 
of the bad feeling created between Austria and 
Italy, but admit that the Clerical Germans are 
exceedingly hostile — " more Papists than the 
Pope" — and that there is danger from the Austrian 
military party. Professor Harnack admits that 
Germany was quite in the wrong in her opposition 
to Italy's colonising effort, but says that this was 
because the Germans were absolutely ignorant of 
the economic progress she had made. There must 
be no talk of Italy going out of the Triplice, be- 
cause otherwise she would certainly be attracted to 
the Triple Entente, and that would render much 
more dangerous the eventuality of a European 
war. There are people, not Germans, who take 
an opposite view to Professor Harnack, but his 
remarks practically sum up the expressions of the 
German Press, which in its panic is dropping 
the " soft soap " argument about how vital it is 
to Italy to remain in the Triplice, and is trying 
to impress upon the Germans that the urgent 
need is their own. 



326 Tripoli and Young Italy 

It is true that the Irredentists are not the 
negligible quantity they are often made out to be, 
and that notwithstanding the sternest of reproofs 
from Giolitti and other responsible Ministers, far 
from having flickered out, they are a strong and 
influential force to-day. It is no idle boast that 
if Italy went to war with Austria right away, 
there would be half a million ready volunteers. 
And that, not because the redeeming of Trent and 
Trieste is considered a vital necessity to Italy, 
but because the Italians can never forget how 
much they suffered under the Austrians. The 
most peaceful of men become bellicose whenever 
the subject of Austria is mentioned, and patri- 
archs, too old almost to walk, wax fiery and swear 
that they would gladly take up a musket to- 
morrow. It is no cheap jingoism, but a deep- 
seated feeling which it is impossible to belittle. 
So that, while officially the Irredentists are often 
treated as harebrained, and it is recognised that 
it would be folly to jeopardise Italy's existence 
as a nation for the sake of a few towns and 
territory which would prove too costly to keep, 
there is an undercurrent of sympathy with those 
who say they can never rest until the Italian flag 
floats over the Trentino. 

3ut if the Trentino were the only trouble, there 



Italy and Europe 327 

would not necessarily be found any more difficulty 
than before in renewing the Triple Alliance. 
The big thing, however, which is threatening 
Italy is the Pan-Germanic movement, in which, 
deny it as she may, and insist as she may on her 
being an independent Great Power, Austria is 
but the missionary. Contrary to the prevalent 
idea, it may even be found that on the death of 
the Emperor Francis Joseph the Germans will not 
straightway gobble up the German provinces of 
the Austrian Empire. So long as Austria re- 
mains as subservient as she is to-day, there will 
be no hurry about that. What is of importance, 
however, is that Austria is preparing the way 
to Salonika by a process of peaceful penetration — 
the Balkans are not being gobbled up, but are 
being slowly but surely masticated. His friend- 
ship for Italy did not prevent Count Aehrenthal 
from pushing his pro-Slav policy, and accelera- 
ting the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
although he had to call upon the Emperor 
William to " rattle his sabre " against Russia. 
It is no empty boast that Austrian influence 
in the Balkans is paramount. If it is not para- 
mount, the fault is not Count Aehrenthal's. 

So it is the Drang nock Osten movement 
with which Italy finds herself confronted. She 



328 Tripoli and Young Italy 

encountered it in Cyrenaica, but the seriousness 
of this peril was nothing in comparison with that 
which threatens her in the Adriatic, and it is not 
surprising that her Allies are getting little change 
out of the Italians for their overtures of peace 
and goodwill. Italy will require more substan- 
tial guarantees than pious utterances, before she 
will consent to join again what may very well 
prove for her a smothering Alliance. Com- 
menting upon the German Foreign Secretary's 
visit to Rome, which seems not to have had a 
very gratifying outcome for Germany, the Kbl- 
nische Zeitung says that Italy " will desire the 
renewal of the Triple Alliance if she can believe 
that her interest will thereby be served ; other- 
wise not." 

It is utter nonsense to argue that the render- 
ing to Austria of Herzegovina did not affect 
Italian interests. The Adriatic is Italy's most 
vulnerable side. Her coast is flat and easy of 
access, and there are no ports of importance in 
contrast with the opposite coast, which is lined 
with natural harbours easy of fortification. Would 
it still not affect Italian interests if that whole 
line of coast came into the hands of the Aus- 
trians, a contingency not so remote as is supposed.-* 
There is no nation more vitally concerned in the 



Italy and Europe 339 

Balkan question than Italy, and unless satisfaction 
is guaranteed her in this respect, she will most 
certainly not consent to a renewal of the Triple 
Alliance. 

" Italy has considerable interests of her own in 
the Ottoman Empire, both political and economic, 
to protect," an Italian deputy urges, "and these 
interests, which coincide with the general interests 
of peace and the international balance of power, 
must inspire her policy." There is no need to 
recall the history of the flourishing Italian colonies 
on the shores of the Bosphorus and the Golden 
Horn. But it might be pointed out that only a 
few years ago Italian was the diplomatic language, 
and the language of commerce and society, 
throughout the Orient ; while practically all the 
navigation was in the hands of the Italians, and 
lawyers and doctors were all trained in Italian 
institutions. This is now no longer the case, 
French having supplanted the language of Dante, 
while German is being encouraged by the 
Turkish Government ; but in the smaller places 
the Italian signs are still to be seen, and even 
the Austrians find it necessary to do their post- 
office business with the natives in Italian. Until 
quite recently Italian trade was expanding in the 
Ottoman dominion more rapidly than that of any 



330 Tripoli and Young Italy 

other country, and there is an enormous scope 
for it there, once it is given a fair field. But 
while Italy will be prepared to leave all this out 
of account, and refrain from pushing what she 
considers her legitimate claims, if it means further 
disintegration of the Turkish Empire, she simply 
cannot acquiesce in any further Austrian aggran- 
disement. 

And thus it comes about that Albania is the 
bone of contention between these two friends and 
allies. The possession of that province, so far as 
will be allowed by its population of picturesque 
brigands, is considered a necessity by Austria, who, 
being thrust by Germany towards the Aegean, 
appears to have no choice in the matter ; 
on the other hand, Italy maintains that if the 
province is to belong to any but the Albanians 
themselves, it must belong to her. The Marquis 
de San Giuliano insisted eleven years ago, that 
"it is necessary before renewing the Alliance 
to guarantee for the future our position on the 
Adriatic," and now that he is Foreign Minister, 
and that the Balkan question has become more 
accentuated, it is not likely that he will depart 
from that policy. In his letters from Albania 
to the Giornale ditalia he maintained that 
Italy has '* an interest of the first order in 



Italy and Europe 331 

hindering the modification to her disadvantage of 
the position in the Adriatic, and of the relative 
strength of her power to that of the Austro- 
Hungarian monarchy. It is desirable for us 
that the territorial status quo in Albania should 
be maintained as long as possible, until that 
State is able to become autonomous, which 
must occur sooner or later when Turkey falls 
to pieces." Not to secure sufficient guarantees 
would be to do irreparable damage to Italy in 
the seas that were once her own. If Valona 
were to fall into the hands of a Great Power, it 
would be a greater menace than ever Biserta 
could be, because it is only forty miles from 
the Italian coast, situated at the narrow strait 
which divides the two seas surrounding Italy. 
Bismarck had suggested that Italy should find 
compensation for the Austrian advance by the 
occupation of Tripoli ; but San Giuliano con- 
tended that that would be a perilous error — 
their interests on the Adriatic could only find 
compensation in the Adriatic itself. 

Guicciardini, the Italian Foreign Minister in 
1901, declared that "whilst Tripoli is a great 
Italian interest, Albania is an absolutely vital 
interest of ours. We can never allow Albania 
to fall into the hands of a first-class Power, and 



332 Tripoli and Young Italy 

we can still less allow it to fall into the hands 
of a second-class Power which belongs to the 
political system of a first-class Power. We have 
tolerated the rise of Biserta, but we cannot 
tolerate the creation of another Biserta at 
Valona or at Durazzo." And, on the other 
hand, of course, it is contended that Austria 
could under no circumstance consent to an 
Italian occupation of Valona, because it would 
nullify Trieste ; and even if Austria were in- 
clined not to trouble about Albania, Germany 
would forbid anything which would depreciate 
the port which she has for years considered as 
her own door into the Mediterranean. 

Matters approached a crisis in 1908, when 
the late Sultan granted a concession to Austria 
for the construction of a railway through the 
sanjak of Novi Bazar from Uvatz to Mitrovitza. 
" The proposed line would have linked up the 
Austrian and German railway systems with 
Salonika, the finest port on the ^gean ; it 
would have intersected all possible lines of 
communication from the Albanian ports to the 
East ; and if this subsidiary scheme of a rail- 
way down the coast from Cattaro were realised, 
the whole province of Albania would have been 
dominated and ultimately absorbed by Austria. 



Italy and Europe 333 

The Adriatic would have become an Austrian 
lake, its keys held by an Austrian naval base 
at Valona, commanding the straits of Otranto." 
The revolution in Turkey put the scheme on 
the shelf, but the Italian resentment had not time 
to quiet down before the Austrian annexation of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina roused it again. How- 
ever, the Italians had no means of making their 
objections felt beyond that of angry demon- 
strations ; their military weakness, especially on 
the Austrian frontier, was such that, had war 
broken out, '* less than a week would have seen 
the white-coats at Milan." 

It is a never-failing source of surprise to 
Italians to observe the cool way in which the 
welt-politik writers, and, following them, the 
diplomatists, go on apportioning the earth. No 
regard is apparently paid to the smaller countries 
except when the exigencies of the big empires 
demand some sacrifice from them. Sir Harry 
Johnston, for instance, while graciously allowing 
Italy to have Libya, tells her that she must not 
be greedy ; she has really been given as much as 
she is entitled to. He writes in the Niruteenth 
Century : " The Italians had legitimate reasons 
for objecting to any Germanisation of the 
Tripolitaine, and took the only course they 



334 Tripoli and Young Italy 

could to prevent it. This being the case, they 
have no justification, either geographical or 
political, for any interference with Austrian or 
with German ambitions with regard to the 
Balkan Peninsula or the Nearer East. Italy 
has got the utmost share to which she is entitled 
in this slowly dissolving Empire of Turkey. 
Therefore, it is extremely improbable that Great 
Britain or France would actively intervene to 
prevent the Germanising of Trieste, or to aid 
Italy in any scheme she may still cherish re- 
garding the future of Albania." And, of course, 
that seems to settle it. If the Italians had 
listened to Delcass6 a year or two ago, they 
would have gone straight to Albania, and would 
have left Tripoli to be looked after by France. 
But if the Powers have learned anything from 
this present campaign, it is that Italy can no 
longer be treated as a quantity n^gligeable ; that 
she demands to have a say in this chopping up 
and changing of the earth, where it especially 
and vitally concerns herself. 

However, both in Italy and Austria there is a 
strong body of opinion that it would be the best 
thing for both sides that they should neither of them 
lay hands on Albania — the game would not be 
worth the candle. It would cost millions of money 



Italy and Europe 335 

and hundreds of lives to subjugate the Albanians, 
who are nothing more than heroic savages, poor 
but proud, and who do not want to be governed 
by anybody. They object to the making of roads 
and say they simply do not want to be civilised. 
And as for any economic value in the possession 
of Albania, there is none ; it would be dear at 
any price. It is urged therefore, in Italy, that 
everything should be done to ensure the future 
independence of the Albanians, "who may consti- 
tute a potential bulwark both against Pan-Slavism 
and Pan-Germanism." 

Unfortunately, however, it does not lie in 
Italy's power to control the destiny of the 
Balkans ; she has realised to her cost that the 
Triple Alliance affords her very little protection 
in the Adriatic. Austria has been unable to 
proceed as rapidly as she desires because of her 
financial worries — French financiers are waking 
up to the folly of lending Austria money to buy 
armaments, eventually to be used against France 
by Germany — but the Drang nach Osten move- 
ment was never more active than it is to-day. 
It is not for nothing that the Kaiser is keenly 
interested in the Bagdad railway, and there is 
more method than madness in his declarations of 
affection for the Sultan of Turkey. 



336 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
There cannot possibly be the sHghtest doubt 
about Italy's desire to maintain the status quo in 
the Balkans, and it is even suggested that that 
was her concern when she allowed the Turkish 
fleet to regain the Dardanelles after it had been 
entirely at the mercy of the Italian men-of-war. 
Count Aehrenthal's own testimony was that " the 
Italian Government, from the outset of the war, 
declared publicly and unequivocally that it desired 
to follow a political principle, tending to maintain 
the status quo in the Balkans. Italy's attitude 
has been in conformity with this resolution." But 
how long can Italy maintain that attitude, if, 
under the cloak of integrity, the German peaceful 
permeation continues to obstruct Italian interests ? 
We know that Italy has favoured the idea of 
forming a federation of the Balkan States, and 
that the King of little Montenegro has dreams 
of becoming the head of it. But even this 
scheme must meet with Italy's strongest dis- 
approval, if the federation is going to come under 
German influence. Montenegro has been forced 
to borrow from Vienna, as a consequence of the 
last Albanian revolt, and it is certain that the 
favourable terms which have been granted involve 
definite political obligations. 

Under the circumstances, therefore, the hardy 



Italy and Europe 337 

annual, " Trouble in the Balkans," is likely to 
arouse more than ordinary interest this year. 
All accounts from trustworthy sources agree as to 
the combustible state of affairs. As the Times 
remarked, " the advent of spring has seldom 
been more dreaded than this year in the Balkans." 
The Young Turks have proved more reactionary 
than the old Hamidian regime, and have pursued 
their policy of " Ottomanism " to the extreme. 
The forces which were supposed to be working 
for progress in Turkey have proved a fraud, and 
•' giving the Young Turks a fair chance " has 
only been a miserable excuse for not interfering. 
The Powers are well aware that internal con- 
ditions in the Ottoman Empire are no better than 
they were ; that the growth of Turkish armaments 
is not only intended to deal with enemies from 
without, but also to crush the life out of any move- 
ment for liberty within. What could be expected 
from a Sultan who mocked the Powers with the 
sinister remark that "the continued existence 
of the Armenians was the clearest proof that 
they enjoy security " ? Repression by wholesale 
massacre has been abandoned for a time, only 
because violation was considered an even more 
effective method of exterminating a people. " By 
an organised system of outrage it was determined 

22 



338 Tripoli and Young Italy 

that no Armenian woman should become the 
mother of an Armenian child." Yet there are 
now no Exeter Hall meetings to crush the 
"bloody Turk," and Macedonia may keep on 
crying, but it will avail her little ; the humanitarians 
are now lavishly bestowing their afifections on 
the oppressor. 

Is it any wonder, then, that these persecuted 
peoples have grown contemptuous about the 
benevolent pretensions of the Powers, and are 
going to take things into their own hands again ? 
What means all this elaborate drilling and 
equipping of large armies in the Balkan States, 
if it is not to counteract the enormous military 
preparations being made by Young Turkey ? It 
is very significant that Roumania and Bulgaria 
have patched up their differences, and if, as is not 
improbable, war does break out this year, what 
will the attitude of the Powers be then ? Will it 
be any different from what it has been in the past ? 
Will the mutual hatreds and jealousies, aggravated 
by the big empire schemes, no longer be an 
obstacle in the way of helping these provinces to 
drive the Turk out of Europe? And, if the 
Turk were driven out, would the Powers still 
guarantee the integrity and independence of the 
Balkan States ? The answer to all this is very 



Italy and Europe 339 

doubtful. One authority's prophecy is that " the 
probable outcome will be the creation of a number 
of semi-independent States — Albanian, Turkish, 
and Macedonian — united in some loose con- 
federation with Austria, and consequently with 
Germany." Hence it would be suicidal on Italy's 
part to affect indifference as to the fate of the 
Balkans. Her very existence as a Power, her 
own national independence, her opportunities for 
natural development and expansion, would be 
placed in jeopardy on the day another Power got 
control of the Adriatic. And her neglect to go 
to Tripoli would have been the first serious nail 
in her coffin. 

Italy, however, does not need to be told that 
her position in the Triple Alliance is an illogical 
one, and she certainly appraises German and 
Austrian assertions of loyalty at their true value. 
But the fact remains that she is on far better 
terms with Britain and France, and, not unnatur- 
ally, speculation is rife as to whether Italy will 
not find herself obliged to renounce her allegiance 
to the Triple Alliance, and transfer her power 
and prestige to the Triple Entente. There 
is already a strong current of feeling in that 
direction, but of course no official notice can be 
taken of it. However desirable such a change 



340 Tripoli and Young Italy- 
may be, Italy cannot stultify her presence in the 
Triplice by making open overtures towards an 
understanding with the Powers of the Entente. 
There is good reason for believing that, notwith- 
standing the peculiar behaviour of some of her 
English "friends," Italy would heartily welcome 
an invitation from Great Britain to come into 
the Entente ; but she may not say so, however 
great her longing. II faut toujours y songer mats 
jamais en parler. People may be left to draw 
their own conclusions as to the effect such a 
consummation would have upon international 
affairs. But could it have any other than a 
beneficial effect ? 

For one thing, there could be resolute action 
taken by England, France, and Italy to end the 
intolerable state of affairs in the Ottoman Empire. 
Turkish rule is beyond all hope of reform, even 
if the Turks sincerely desired it, because Mo- 
hammedanism renders reform not only impos- 
sible, but a crime against religion. No help 
could be expected from Russia, who, however, 
has too many other irons in the fire to venture 
much opposition. It would content her to see 
the Pan-Germanic wave checked. Opposition 
would undoubtedly be offered by Germany and 
Austria for divers reasons, The latter Govern- 



Italy and Europe 341 

ment is frantically anxious about the maintenance 
of the European status qiw, and could not conceal 
its glee when the holding up of French mail-boats 
by the Italians caused a little irritation between the 
two countries. Certainly, Germany and Austria 
are not blind to the direct possibilities of a rap- 
prochement between Italy and France and England 
and sigh for another Iron Chancellor who could 
set them by the ears again. But if concerted, 
drastic action were taken by England, France, 
and Italy, the problem of the Near East might 
be solved for good ; and most assuredly Italy 
would be the gainer. 

Meanwhile, the enhanced prestige of Italy, 
grratifying as it is, devolves upon her grave 
responsibilities, if she is to be true to herself 
With all the desire in the world to live on good 
terms with the other Powers, and especially with 
Austria — the recent censorship of d'Annunzio's 
" Ode to the Dardanelles " showed to what 
extent the Government will go in this respect — 
the unstable equilibrium of Europe gives her no 
alternative but to go on strengthening her army 
and navy. She could not help being drawn 
into the vortex of contending military forces ; 
she had either to sink or swim. She preferred 
to swim, because she believes she has a destiny 



342 Tripoli and Young Italy 

to fulfil. It has been the fashion to point to 
the Triple Alliance as the cause for her heavy 
expenditure in armaments. This is quite true ; 
but not exactly as the critics have meant it. The 
armaments have not been needed for fighting the 
foes of Germany and Austria, because none of 
these foes have threatened Italy, but simply as 
a safeguard against her very allies. We now 
know that her proved strength and efficiency as 
a fighting force have made her for the first time 
really valuable to Pan-Germanism as an ally, or 
rather as a pawn, and formidable as an enemy. 
Hence the German tears and fears. 

If Rome really did again aspire to Empire, 
who should say her nay ? Her young men may 
dream of it, and who shall deny them ? Are 
they less fitted for Empire than the French, the 
German, or even the British ? But the French 
and the German and the British need not get 
very alarmed — Italy is exceedingly modest in 
her claims. She stands for the right of a com- 
pact, well-defined nation to develop herself to 
her fullest capacity ; the right to defend herself 
when her natural development is in danger of 
being arrested by outside forces. She stands, 
indeed, for nationhood against an all-absorbing 
Imperialism, and her foreign policy, her alliances, 



Italy and Europe 343 

and ententes will be dictated directly according 
to that idea. 

Above all, Young Italy stands for the intel- 
lectual side of things. In all those fields of 
thought which make for the uplifting of humanity 
from the cockpit of contending greed and aggran- 
disement she is opening out new and brighter 
paths. Having surveyed the apparently hopeless 
chaos into which the world is being irresistibly 
drawn, cynics may sneer at this young nation's 
pioneering pretensions ; but it is irrefutable that 
there are elements in the new Italian nationality 
of which the world stands, sorely in need ; and 
in judging of Italy's present and future actions 
those people who are genuinely concerned for 
progress, and have not allowed themselves to 
be swamped by the prevailing pessimism, must 
face squarely the question whether these elements 
are worth preserving ; whether the world will 
not be lamentably the poorer if they are crushed 
at their birth by the Juggernaut of a military 
and financial despotism. The optimists who 
believe that such nationalities are worth pre- 
serving must sympathise with Young Italy's 
efforts to secure her own development, and re- 
joice in the grand opportunities presented by her 
growth in prestige. Whatever may be her 



344 Tripoli and Young Italy 

shortcomings — and they are many ; whatever 
blunders she will make — and her very youth will 
be responsible for not a few ; there are thousands 
of lovers of this country who believe with Israel 
Zangwill that "of all the nations Italy is the 
least unfitted to lead the world." 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

G. Piazza, " La nostra Terra Promessa." 
S. Sighele, " Pagine Nazionalista" 
„ " II Nazionalismo." 

E. Corradini, " L'Ora di Tripoli." 

A. Coloquhoun, " The Whirlpool of Europe." 

R. Bagot, " My Italian Year." 

H. S. Cowper, "The Hill of the Graces." 

A. di San Giuliano, " Lettere sull' Albania." 

A. Sommerfeld, " Der Italienisch-Turkische Kri^." 

T. Barclay, " The Turco-Italian War." 

F. Minutelli, " La Tripolitania." 

Thomas Okey and Bolton King, " Italy To-day." 

H. Zimmern, " Italy of the Italians." 

Bulletins of the International Institute of Agriculture, 

L. Goretti, " La Tripolitania." 

L. Einuadi, " La'Tripolitania " {Rifortna SodaU, Oct. and Nov. 

1911). 
M. de Mathuisieulx, " A travers la Tripolitaine." 

G. Cora, "La Tripolitania" {Nuova Antologia, Nov. 191 1). 
G. Salvemeni, " Tripolie e i Socialisti." 

Ed. Monet, " Les Senousses." 
** Che fare nella Tripolitania." 
D. Tumiati, "Tripolitania." 
Camperio, " Gita nella Tripolitania." 
de Marti no, " Cirene e Cartagine." 
G. Castellini, " Tunisi e Tripoli." 
H. M. de Mathuisieulx, " La Tripolitaine,'* 

545 



346 Bibliography 

Musso, " La Tripolitania." 

G. Signorini, " Italia Nostra." 

II Nazionalismo Italiano, Atti del Congresso di Firenze. 

" La Dante Alighieri." 

Lega Nazionale, Atti del XII Congresso Generale. 

" Alcuni cenni sul Trentino." 

" L'Agricultura Coloniale." 

Luigi Villari (edited by), " The Balkans Question." 

Amato B. Amati, " Quattro anni di crisi." 

Report on the Work of the Commission sent out by the Jewish 

Territorial Organisation. 
Maggiore Pedretti, " Viaggio in Cirenaica." 
" Voyages su pays de Senoussia par le Cheik Mahammed Ben 

Otsmane el Hachaichi." 

D. Oliva, "II Teatro in Italia nel 1909." 
Mario Lago, "Angelo Zanelli." 

Luigi Callari, " Storia dell' Arte Contemporanea Italiana." 

G. Haimann, "Cirenaica." 

Dr. O. Manetti, " La Tripolitania." 

Vittorio Nazzari, " La Tripolitania Agricola " {Nuova Anto- 

logia). 
G. Borghetti, "Trento Italiana." 
P. della Cella, " Viaggio da Tripoli alle frontiere occidentali 

d'Egitto, 1817." 
A. Brunatti, " Tripolitania, Algeria, Tunisia." 
Dr. V. Nazari, "Tripolitania." 
Checchi, ' Attraverso la Cirenaica." 

E. Vassallo, " Lettere dalla Tripolitania." 

Dr. Giannb, " I bacini minerarii della Tripolitania." 

Prof. Pera, " Bengasi e dintorni." 

Ant. Annoni, " Le attuali risorse di Tripoli." 

Afrit, "Tripolitania agricola." 

Dr. Giann6, " Le miniere di zolfo della Cirenaica, concorrenza 

americana e de Sicilia." 
R. P., " Durante e dopo la guerra," 



Bibliography 347 

Mallarini, " La Tripolitania." 

Gustavo Coen, " L'ltalia a Tripoli." 

T. Palamenghi Crispi, " Francesco Crispi : Politica Estera." 

Dr. Paolo-de Vecchi, *' Italy's Civilising Mission in Africa," 

A. Zacher, " Das Heutige Italien." 

Fischer, " Italien und die Italienen." 

F. Garlanda, " La Terza Italia." 



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